Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced a new public service announcement campaign that encourages smoke alarm awareness among older adults, who are at greater risk of dying in a fire. The PSAs are available for distribution through the Department of Fire Services.
The “Dear Grandma / Querida Abuela” campaign started this month on television and radio stations in the Boston, Worcester, and Springfield media markets. Recorded in both English and Spanish, it features a granddaughter writing a letter to her grandmother about all the things she looks forward to doing together, interspersed with messages about the importance of having working smoke alarms and replacing alarms after 10 years.
“In Massachusetts and nationwide, people over 65 have a disproportionately high risk of dying in a fire,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Everyone should have working smoke alarms in their homes, but we developed this PSA to reach older adults in particular because of the higher statistical risk they face. Installing smoke alarms on every floor of the home, checking them regularly, and replacing them after 10 years can dramatically reduce that risk.”
Nationwide, about 60% of fatal fires occur in homes without working smoke alarms. And in Massachusetts, people 65 and older comprise about 17% of the population but about 50% of last year’s fatal fire victims.
“Working smoke alarms are often the first line of defense against injury and tragedy in a fire,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “We invite our partners in the fire service, family members, caregivers, and social service providers to share these PSAs and emphasize the importance of working smoke alarms, especially among seniors.”
The PSAs are available for download at the Department of Fire Services web page and can be linked or shared from the DFSYouTube channel. They complement the DFS Senior SAFE program, which provides grant funding for local fire departments to provide fire and life safety education for older adults.