The early-in-the-year spike in fire deaths leads the Shreveport Fire Department to increase its efforts to educate residents on how to prevent, and respond to, accidental fires.

Three elderly residents have died in fires this month alone. A fire in the 2900 block of Hardy Street left 61-year-old Doyle Jackson dead. And 76-year-old Foster Demery and his 81-year-old sister Orine were both killed in a fire on E. 68th Street.

According to Fire Prevention officials, statistics show fire presents a bigger risk to the elderly. Their reaction times may be slowed; their senses of sight, hearing and smell may be diminished; and they may be drowsy or disoriented because of medication they're required to take.

The SFD has released the following safety recommendations for senior citizens, their family members and caregivers:

  • If you or someone in your household has a special need, contact the non-emergency fire communications phone number at 675-2200 so 911 dispatchers can flag your address, alerting fire professionals to the location of your family member.
  • Contact Fire Prevention at 673-6740 to receive a free 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm or to schedule a fire safety professional to inspect your home to identify any visible hazards.
  • Test all smoke alarms in your home monthly.
  • Develop a home fire safety plan and practice it frequently.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are operable and accessible to allow you to escape a fire or for fire professionals to reach you quickly.
  • Have at least two ways to escape from every room in your home.
  • Install nightlights in sleeping areas. "Emergency nightlights" are available that plug into wall outlets, but continue working if the power goes off.
  • Keep a phone at or near your bed for emergency calls, in case you become trapped and are unable to escape during an emergency.


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