Reasons Men Are More Susceptible To Death By Fire

AROUND THE RIM

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Fire is a dirty word in these wooded parts, a four-letter word in the truest sense.

That's why an item in the March 2006 "AARP Bulletin" caught my eye. Under the headline, "Where There's Smoke," it noted that older adults are more likely to die in fires than the general population.

That in itself is not too surprising. Since the general mode of escaping a fire is one's feet and since older adults are not as fast on their feet as the general population, one might suspect they'd be less likely to outrun a fire.

But wait, there's more. The article also says that the four most likely causes of fires in which elderly people are killed are smoking, open flames, heating and -- get this -- "suspicious acts."

While smoking and heating (presumably they mean heating sources like furnaces and space heaters) would be expected causes of fire, open flames seem to me to be the effect rather than the cause. Ladies and gentlemen, it has been my experience that open flames are not likely to cause a fire -- because they already are one.

But wait, there's still more. The article also says that guys are "at a substantially higher risk of fire death than women." Now I know that guys die younger than women anyway, but why death by fire?

I mean, we can run faster than women. We are, as a rule, stronger than women. Why should we be at a substantially higher risk?

After considerable thought, I have come up with some theories. Here are "My Reasons Guys Are More Susceptible to Death by Fire:"

  • While making a beeline for the door to escape a fire, you forget where you're going, pause to see if you can remember, shrug your shoulders and go back to the game you're watching on TV.
  • You can't find your keys anywhere and by the time you realize you have them in your hands, you are totally surrounded by an angry fire.
  • Even if you can find your keys, you can't tell which key is which without your reading glasses. And you guessed it, you can't find a single pair, even though you have at least 10 pairs scattered all over the house.
  • When you smell smoke, it seems like a good idea to run out of the house, but a nap seems like a good idea too. Just a little catnap, and then zip out of the house just ahead of the fire. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • You're trying to watch two games at once on TV when you notice this fire bearing down on you. You decide to check the score on the other game one more time before making tracks. But where's the remote. It was right here a minute ago. Maybe under this chair cushion. Maybe under the chair. Maybe ... eeeeyyowww!
  • You can't figure out why somebody is outside yelling, "Wire!" Or is it "Choir." This hearing aid is not worth a darn.
  • The game is coming down to the wire, and you think you'll just watch the last minute or so before racing out the door. Darned if it doesn't go into overtime, so you grab another beer and settle back in the recliner.
  • You'd be out in the street watching the fire from a safe distance right now if you weren't too proud to ask for directions. Besides, you're not really lost. You just can't find the door. It must be here somewhere.
  • Being the gentleman that you are, you stop to hold the door open for the little lady and that split second is just enough for the fire to swoop down and carry you off to that great fire extinguisher in the sky. So much for manners.
  • You start to follow your spouse out the door, but then you decide if she's leaving, you're not. This is the chance you've been waiting for to grab a little down time.
  • You finally have the poker hand you've been waiting for all night, and you're not leaving until you play it -- even if nobody is left at the table to see it.
  • She finally made you meatloaf and you're not leaving until you eat it. Her meatloaf is usually a little on the rare side anyway.

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