By Josh Hardy
In addition to its traditional role of fire protection, today's fire department is becoming increasingly geared towards providing emergency medical services.
In fact, Davis County fire departments today run far more medical calls than any other nature of call. With this responsibility to provide ambulance and emergency services, the fire department also has an inherent responsibility to teach citizens about risk prevention.
Accidents do happen, and for those we are well trained and equipped to serve you. Others however can be prevented, saving you from physical, emotional, and financial hardships.
One of the more common yet potentially serious medical calls we receive daily are falls. Most fall patients are older adults who have slipped, tripped, or lost their balance. Falls can be devastating for older adults whose bones have weakened with age.
The National Fire Protection Association recognized this trend, and decided to take assertive action in trying to prevent this potentially devastating and life-altering problem. A recently published brochure entitled "How to Prevent Falls" is part of a program the NFPA has developed to reduce the amount of falls among older adults. Bountiful City Fire Department ambulances are now equipped with these brochures to help teach fall victims about prevention. Here are a few key points from this literature.
Exercise regularly. This improves strength and balance, but be sure to consult your doctor first as to the most appropriate means of exercise for your body.
Take your time. Get up slowly from any position, and make sure to gain your balance before walking.
Clear the way. This is consistent with a previously published article concerning cleaning and uncluttering your home. It is also important to keep stairs and walking areas free of any tripping hazards.
Look out for yourself. Visit an eye specialist once a year to maintain good vision, and improve lighting in your home with aids such as nightlights.
Slippery when wet. Use non-slip mats in bathtubs and showers, and have grab bars installed on the walls near these fixtures.
Throw rugs can throw you. Only use rugs with rubber backing that won't slip, and smooth out wrinkles in carpeting so as not to trip.
Tread carefully. Stairways should be well lit, and consider having handrails installed on both sides of stairs.
Best foot forward. Wear safe shoes that are well-fitted and sturdy, and have low heels and non-slip soles. These are safer than slippers or stocking feet.
I hope by now those readers who have not yet reached older adulthood have not discounted this article as non-applicable. On the contrary, we should consider it our responsibility to look after the older generations.
By following some of these simple guidelines, we can help prevent those we love from physically devastating injuries. Your local fire department tries its best to educate citizens on how to prevent emergencies, but we will not be successful without your participation.
Finally, be sure to call 911 if you need help. If you are physically fine but can't get up, or the person you live with is physically incapable of picking you up, don't be afraid to call 911. We will send a fire engine or ambulance to help you get up.
If you've fallen and are disoriented, unbalanced, nauseated, and have difficulty remembering, you should definitely call 911.
The possible complications associated with a traumatic fall far outweigh the embarrassment of calling for help.
We are available 24 hours a day and are paid to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the best possible care and protection. So take these precautions to heart, and don't let falls get you down.