Single Middle-aged Men Burnt Out (By Raging House Fires!)

Never before have there been so many men over the age of 50 living alone. This is usually attributed to relationships breakups rather than choice. Being home alone at any age has its health and safety hazards, but for those men 50, and above, the risk of dying prematurely by a fire in their habitat is twice that of those below this age.

Men dying in house firesLow Income Earners Most at Risk

As with most of life’s crappy deals, it is the poorest members of society that fair the worst. Perhaps the main reason for this is because single men on meagre wages usually get sicker for longer – especially during the cold months of winter. Many middle-aged men don’t take care of themselves (or can’t afford to), as well as they ought to.

What’s this all got to do with house fires you might be wondering?

Well, with a lot of illness, such as anxiety, depression, and prolonged colds and flu outbreaks, come prescription drugs, many of which make the patient extremely drowsy at worse, or just plain forgetful at best. Either or, not being alert is the leading cause of negligence. Sad and lonely guys in the throes of midlife are more prone to all of the above.

This forgetfulness sees too many homes and their lone inhabitants go up in smoke. Either that, or they become maimed for life. And to think the majority of house fires are so preventable!

Even if our man wakes up during a fire, if he’s on heavy medication then he’s less alert and slower to react, and these things combined can, and often do, lead to his demise.

Fact: “The slower we move, the faster we die”.

The Importance of Fire Safety cannot be Emphasized Enough!

A few simple inexpensive precautions is all it takes to save lives and property from a residential blaze say fire chiefs. Installing and maintaining smoke and heat alarms (maintenance being very important), is the first line of defence. These clever devices make enough racket to wake the dead, thus giving the occupant time to tackle the blaze – if it’s not yet out of control – or escape and summon the emergency services if it’s turning into a raging inferno.

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The 7 Most Common Causes of House Fires Killing Home-alone Men

  1. Pots or pans overfilled with oil (risk of overheating, spitting, splashing)
  2. Faulty heating equipment.
  3. Careless smoking (say no more!).
  4. Faulty electrical equipment (loose of frayed wires plugs etc).
  5. Burning candles carelessly dotted around the room and forgotten about.
  6. Inadequate wiring (electrical fire hazards waiting to happen).
  7. Flammable liquids stored near unventilated heating sources.

The above highlights the main hazards that these men should be vigilant of. There are other risks for guys over 50 living solo (cooking or smoking while intoxicated springs to mind), but there’s plenty of good information out there to help bring folks up to speed with fire safety.

Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries the world over.

Too Many Unnecessary Middle-aged Deaths

You don’t have to be elderly to get sick and die. Once a man reaches fifty, there’s a much higher risk of running into serious health problems, especially if he’s NOT in good overall shape. Many a man in his fifties and sixties has been found dead in his home because he had a heart attack, stroke, or other fatal health complications, and there was no one there to help save him or contact the emergency services.

Sometimes, he would have been laying there – incapacitated and in awful pain – for days before his heart finally stopped beating, and that’s nothing short of tragic at any age. So if you happen know of a man in his 50s – or older, and living by himself, why not unobtrusively make contact from time to time just to say hello and see how he’s doing?

Say NO to an Increasingly Uncaring Society

Perhaps you know – or know of – a 50+ fella living alone near you who never, or rarely, seems to get any visitors, why not discretely look out for him once in a while, just to make sure he’s okay? After all, a rotting corpse is not a very dignified way for anyone to be found at any age, but this is how a lot of deceased men get discovered.

A lack of social support for guys in this age bracket makes them vulnerable to all sorts. The forgotten generation some call them, especially those out of work and void of all hope!

Points to Note:

In the UK, The Office for National Statistics figures has shown that there are now an estimated 1.3 million middle-aged men living all alone (at the time or writing). This is 200,000 more men in this age group than women, and the trend is continuing to climb. It’s not just a midlife issue either. The number of younger men living by themselves is on the increase too. Like their older counterparts, this is often because relationships have gone sour rather than through choice.

Generally speaking, females cope better with solitude than males, but for men it’s often turns out to be an unhealthy – and sometimes fatal – experience, and the longer they’re alone, the more vulnerable they become to life’s hazards.

The number of men living alone has been steadily increasing for the past 30 years.

Summary

The fire risks, ill health, loneliness, and social isolation among men in mid-life, is becoming a global problem as many women the world over are deciding they’re better off without a “full-time” partner in their lives. Whatever it is that’s going on out there, it needs to change, and change fast, or we run the risk of becoming a race of selfish male and female go-getters living a dog eat dog existence, and that’s not who we are. At least that’s not who we used to be!

It’s not only middle-aged men living alone who are at risk of dying in fires – obviously – but it is a growing problem within this group, and this site is about men’s issues after all. The fact of the matter though, is that all kinds of people for all sorts of reasons either die or get injured by fires in the home, every single day of the year, most of which could have been easily avoided.

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Further Reading: The National Fire Protection Association’s Home Fire Safety Checklist

Got something to say on the topic of fires in the home? Please leave your comments below.

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    Andy Aitch says:

    Many years ago, I almost set a friend’s beautiful 4 story terraced house on fire in a beautiful part of old Rotterdam, Holland. After a heavy night on the town, I got home and decided that a plate full of hot chips (they’re obese French Fries to American readers), would satisfy a hungry gut more than a cheese and pickle sandwich.

    To cut a long story short, I nodded off (or passed out!), and woke to choking smoke and a blazing inferno coming from the Kitchen. Still to this day I have no idea how I got it under control and potentially saved lives, the house and its surrounding buildings from total destruction. But I did, get a right good ticking off by the local Fire Brigade, and quite rightly so!

    The moral of this story?

    Avoid anything that requires a flame after a night on the ale, especially if you’re home alone at the time!

    Andy Aitch (webmaster)



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