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Should Fire Training be Done in Active Senior Communities?

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - June 25, 2013

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Live fire training for various fire departments across the country is a normal process. However, in recent months several fire training options have been held in senior citizen communities. The senior communities have been expecting these fire drills in order to help seniors and to help those working within the senior communities as well as the fire department. However, sometimes these fires can go awry or the training to get out of hand. Due to recent fires such as the three alarm fire that occurred at a Fort Worth senior living apartment during the week of March 24, 2013 the question of fire safety and of live fire drills has become an issue.

It should be noted that no fire department currently has been doing live fire training with actual fire in senior communities. When a live fire training is referred to, it generally refers to the training method itself and not an actual live fire. The concern comes in with the safety of the residents. Though many of these a live fire training methods by fire departments are meant to help the fire department understand the needs in senior communities and the layout of various senior communities in the area, the ultimate issue is the safety of the community members. This safety issue has led to questions of the safety of community members and other members of the community during these training actions. In fact, the big question seems to come in with memory loss care and Alzheimer's care wings.

In memory loss care Alzheimer's care wings many of the residents may already be confused about what is going on. If fire alarms are pulled and a drill is done, this may help the residents eventually but during the time the drill is being performed it may cause mass confusion and issues with the Alzheimer's patients. Though there is a need to have these fire drills to ensure that patients are safe during a possible fire, patients can injure themselves in the process of the panic and chaotic nature that would be caused by fire drill.

The question comes in with how are the firefighters in the area and the staff of the senior community supposed to drill when they may cause more harm than good. Though there have not been any national attempts to change how fire drills are done, there are several organizations that are moving to help fire departments figure out better ways to accomplish this. One of the ways to accomplish a safer fire drill is to have a mock set up in abandoned buildings. In the buildings can be easily set up to have temporary structures inside that will mimic the senior community floors or various levels. This will help firefighters run live fire drills and training with out harming patients, confusing Alzheimer's care patients and without causing any accidental injury during a chaotic drill. This will also help them determine if there are other options to consider during the drill or if there are possible issues that may come up during an actual fire.