Deaths from Residential Fires among Older People, United States, 1984

Jama A. Gulaid, Jeffrey J. Sacks, Richard W. Sattin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Deaths from fires are the fifth leading cause of injury death among people aged 65 years or older. To describe the epidemiology of deaths from residential fires among older people, we analyzed mortality data for 1984 collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. Although older people represented only 12% of the U.S. population in 1984, they accounted for 29% (1,278) of that year's 4,466 residential fire deaths. Conflagrations accounted for 78% of older people's deaths from residential fires; clothing ignitions and other fires accounted for 11% each. Residential fire death rates increased with advancing age. Older black people had death rates 4.6 times the death rates of older white people. Older males had higher death rates than older females. Host, environmental, and behavioral risk factors for residential fire deaths among older people and potential strategies for intervention are discussed. Unless intervention strategies are focused on older people, the residential fire death toll in the U.S. may actually grow as the population of older people increases from 12% of the population in 1984 to about 21% of the population in 2030. 1989 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-334
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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