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Salt Lake City firefighters responding to fewer falls after big push in prevention

SALT LAKE CITY — Years of prevention efforts are finally paying off as the Salt Lake City Fire Department said they are seeing fewer elderly people fall and get hurt.

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Firefighter and paramedic, Tom McKay, said in some neighborhoods 60 percent of their calls are for senior citizens who have fallen.

“Falls can result in serious injury and serious expense,” McKay said.

Mckay said it can also be expensive for taxpayers to send big fire rigs out every time someone falls. In the last two years the fire department has been trying to cut costs for both victims and responders as they amped up prevention efforts. Mckay said the biggest change was reaching out personally to senior citizens and presenting them with a plan that will help keep them on their feet.

“That kind of one-on-one interaction really seems to make an impact,” McKay said.

He said the fire department will help citizens find free programs that will work on keeping them active and develop more muscle and balance.

“The best ways to prevent falls is to get up, move and stay active,” McKay said.

He said the data has been hard to track, because one person can skew the numbers if they have a condition that makes them prone to falling, but overall they are noticing fewer visits to senior citizens neighborhoods that have gone through the training.

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