Fire Protection Engineering Department
2017 Howard W. Emmons Distinguished Lecture
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 5:00 pm
Room 50P1226 – 50 Prescott Street, Gateway II
Followed by a reception in the FPE Café
* * * Please RSVP to email@example.com * * *
Professor Ai Sekizawa
Graduate School of Global Fire Science and Technology
Tokyo University of Science
Challenges in Fire Safety in a Society Facing a Rapidly Aging Population
Physical fitness and mobility inevitably deteriorate as people age, and it becomes easier to be injured during any kind of accident, not only fires. As the population continues to age, it is natural that the trend of increasing numbers of deaths will continue as far as the population of elderly people increases. The problem may be also influenced by factors such as deterioration of mutual assistance from family members and communities, as the low birth rate, aging population, and the trend away from multigenerational households continue.
However, the risk of death due to fire among elderly people has been decreasing according to the trend in recent years in Japan contrary to our expectation. Although the increased health of elderly people in recent years is one important explanation, it is not the only one to explain the above fact. The increased safety of appliances for cooking and heating, and the increased safety and quality of housing environments also certainly has had an effect. It is also important to improve the health and living environment for elderly people. Reducing fire risks, even a little, and thereby providing a safe and comfortable life in residential homes in which the majority of elderly people live, is something that everyone wants. This lecture will explore the changing nature of fire risks associated with the rapidly aging population in Japan, with potential insights for other countries facing a similar situation in the future.