The Gravity of Falling

The Gravity of Falling

Keeping You Safe

Chris Bowden
Firefighter/Paramedic
cbowden@cityofmarcoisland.com

Losing your independence after years of self-reliance is often a hard pill to swallow. Due to the natural ageing process, these golden years are often overlooked altogether. As you can imagine, it’s very important that while you and your loved ones continue to age, being properly prepared and informed is vital.

I am sure everyone has seen that commercial “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” and for the most part, we chuckle when it pops up. I know these commercials probably are not winning any awards, however, there is exceptional value in its content. Let’s be honest, in a perfect world no emergencies would exist, there would be no need to call 911, and no one would ever get sick or hurt. As we all know, this isn’t the case, and unfortunately, Marco Island is no exception to that. Marco Island Fire Rescue has been called out many times for the elderly person who has fallen and spent the night on the floor, commonly suffering from a fracture of some sort. Out of reach of a phone or maybe they live alone, these types of calls are completely preventable and need to be taken seriously. Statistically, injuries from falls don’t end well for most elderly patients, and in some cases even death can occur.

Falls continue to be a common occurrence on Marco Island and without taking proper preventative action you or a loved one could receive an unwanted visit from Marco Island’s bravest. The culprit for these falls are typically due to the normal process of ageing, the deterioration of balance, vision issues, and loss of overall strength. We strongly encourage you to consider preventing a debilitating fall before it happens and educating yourself on the topic. Listed below are a few tips you should consider.

  1. Exercise Regularly: Exercise regularly to build strength and improve your balance and coordination. Ask your doctor about the best physical exercise for you.
  2. Take Your Time: Get out of chairs slowly. Sit a moment before you get out of your bed. Stand and get your balance before you walk. Be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Keep Stairs, Walking Areas Clear: Keep stairs and walking areas free of electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, etc.
  4. Improve In/Outside Home Lighting: Use nightlights or a flashlight to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. Turn on the lights before using the stairs. See an eye specialist once a year—better vision can help prevent falls.
  5. Use Non-slip Mats: Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower and toilet. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
  6. Watch Uneven Surfaces: Be aware of uneven surfaces indoors and outdoors. Use only throw rugs that have rubber, non-skid backing. Consider placing non-skid rug pads under rugs. Always smooth out wrinkles and folds in carpeting. Be aware of uneven sidewalks and pavement outdoors. Step carefully.
  7. Light Your Stairs: Stairways should be well lit from both the top and the bottom. Have easy-to-grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairs.
  8. Wear the Right Shoes: Wear sturdy, well-fitting, low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles. These are safer than high heels, thick-soled athletic shoes, slippers, or stocking feet.

Along with reviewing these tips, visit the Marco Island campus of the Naples Community Hospital, 40 S. Heathwood Drive, on February 8 from 10 AM-1 PM. The facility, along with other agencies, will be hosting a Fall Prevention & Health Fair and it’s free to the public. The fair will also have a free balance/fall screenings, preventive tips and healthy refreshments!

Getting to Know Your Firefighters

Submitted Photo | Fireman Paramedic Hafid Oliver

Hafid Oliver has been with the City of Marco Island Fire Department since 2010. He moved to the island in 2012 with his wife, Christine and three daughters. Hafid serves as a Fireman Paramedic and is active in the Fire Department Dive Rescue program. Along with his wife, Christine they stay active in the community by volunteering at Tommy Barfield Elementary School, with the local Girl Scouts of America troop, at local beach clean-ups, and they are members of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church. For the past few years, Christine has been a pediatric registered nurse at Naples Community Hospital, and previously was a pediatric oncology nurse at Miami Children’s Hospital. Both received bachelor’s degrees from Florida International University prior to going into the fire science and medical fields. They feel blessed being able to work and live in this great city and enjoy their family time going to the beach, Mackle Park and watching their daughters dance ballet for Ms. Natalie at Island Dance Academy.

This fire safety message brought to you by the City of Marco Island Fire Rescue Department. Chris is the Public Education Coordinator for the department.  Chris can be contacted at cbowden@cityofmarcoisland.com or 239-389-5040.


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