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Thursday, 04 April 2019 10:27

Take time to reduce your chances of a fall

Written by  Staff Writer

To the editor,
In 2018 the Janesville Fire Department responded to 10,257 calls for service. This was a slight increase over our 2017 responses. Where the department has seen a higher increase in calls for service is for lift assists. The department responded to 653 lift assists in 2018, which is 197 above the 2017 numbers. Lift assists may involve individuals needing help up from a fall, up from a chair, moved from a chair to a wheelchair, etc. This number only includes individuals who are not injured.

While researching this data, we found that for January 2019, we responded to 34 lift assists. Data showed that 24 of the 34 lift assists were for falls with no injuries; 16 of the 24 calls were for individuals over the age of 65. Additionally, the department responded to 41 calls for service that involved a fall with injuries; 31 individuals out of 41 were over the age of 65.

When fire department personnel respond to an individual who has fallen, they discuss the events of the fall and educate the individual on what can be done to prevent other falls. Information from the National Safety Council states that falls are the third leading cause of unintentional-injury-related deaths for all ages and the No. 1 cause of death for those 65 and older.

The fire department would like to provide the following tips to prevent falls at home and in the community: 
• Remove clutter, including extension cords and other trip hazards.
• Always wear proper footwear and clean up spills immediately.
• Place non-slip adhesive strips on stairs and non-skid mats in the shower and bathroom.
• Install nightlights in the bathroom, hallways and other areas to prevent falls at night.
• For older adults, install grab bars near showers and toilets. Install rails on both sides of stairs.
• Talk with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
Stay safe and healthy!

James M. Ponkauskas, deputy fire chief
city of Janesville

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