Increase in house fire incidents due to ‘forgetful’ elderly residents

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The number of house fires has only increased in recent years. One of the main reasons is aging. The number of elderly people is increasing and because they are less mobile, less attentive, and often more forgetful, they are often victims. So says Marcel van Gerwen, risk management employee at the Brabant-Noord Fire Department.

Last year the fire department had to reach more than 1,100 times for house fires in Brabant. That’s thirteen percent more often than the previous year. The fire incidents had never been so high in previous years either.

Fatalities often turn out to be elderly people. Two-thirds of the victims last year in house fires were sixty years of age or older. And of those, half were 80-plus.

According to Marcel van Gerwen, most fires start at the dryer machine. “In Den Bosch, we have fifteen to twenty house fires a year due to the dryer,” he said. But according to him, things also regularly go wrong while cooking. Smoking in the home is third on the list. For example, especially old people fall asleep with a cigarette on the couch or in bed.


  • Hang a smoke detector on every floor and near high-risk appliances.
  • Make sure you test them and be sure you hear the smoke alarm even when you are sleeping.
  • Turn on the clothes dryer only when you are home.
  • Charge your phone during the day and if you do want to charge it at night next to your bed, make sure you have a smoke detector in your bedroom.

Source: OmroepBrabant

Translation: Chaitali Sengupta. She also gives online INBURGERING classes.

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