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Press Releases / 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 22, 2013



In response to the deaths of three seniors by fire in New York City this August, Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano reminds all older New Yorkers to exercise fire safety. In 2012, the FDNY recorded 58 deaths, the fewest civilian fire deaths since the records began being kept.  Still, 25 of those who lost their lives in fires were aged 70 or older – 43 percent.

“While New York City has experienced historically low rates of fire deaths over the past decade, some groups remain vulnerable to fire – including our seniors,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, “It is important that seniors and other vulnerable populations plan for fire and medical emergencies, so that they can maintain their independence safely.”

Fire Commissioner Cassano urges all older New Yorkers to exercise fire safety in their homes:

  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you already have detectors installed, make sure you test them at least once a month, and ask for help if you cannot do so yourself.
  • Exercise safety when cooking – remove loose clothing before cooking, keep a large lid near the stove to smother stove-top fires, keep cooking surfaces free of dish towels, wooden utensils, and potholders, and use oven mitts, not kitchen towels to handle hot pots and pans.
  • Never leave cooking unattended and double-check oven and burners are off before going to bed.
  • Do not overload outlets and replace worn cords, run extension cords along walls, not across the room or under rugs.
  • Know how to respond to a fire, immediately get out if possible and call 9-1-1, plan in advance for two ways out of any room and identify a safe place outside the home to wait for help. Never go back for anything.

More cooking safety tips can be found on the FDNY website at Additional resources on independent living are available through the Safe Elders website at, including an instructional video narrated by FDNY Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Elisheva Zakheim, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056


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