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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Fall Prevention & Safety for Older Adults



Check out the safety information below from the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal and Portland Fire & Rescue


What Can You Do To Prevent Falls?


Take Care of Yourself

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications and their side effects.
  • Poor vision increases your chance of falling.
  • See an eye doctor once a year.
  • Clean eyeglasses regularly.
  • Regular exercise builds strength and improves balance and coordination.
  • Ask your doctor about the best exercise for you.

Keep Pathways Clear

  • Keep walking areas clear of loose rugs, cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, paper, and other clutter.
  • Smooth out wrinkles and folds in loose rugs and carpeting.
  • Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
  • Watch out for pets and children.

Slow Down

  • When standing, get your balance before walking.
  • Get out of chairs slowly.
  • Sit up a moment before getting out of bed.
  • Don’t rush to answer the phone or door bell.

Do You Have the Tools for Fall Prevention?



  • Use night lights in walkways.
  • Stairways should be well lit from top to bottom.

Rugs & Non-Slip Mats

  • Use rugs that have rubber, non-skid backing.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.

Handrails & Grab Bars

  • Have easy to grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairs.
  • Have grab bars installed on the wall in the tub and shower, and next to the toilet.

Shoes & Mobility Devices

  • Wear sturdy, well-fitted, low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Use correct mobility devices: canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.

What if You Fall?


If You Fall at Home

  • Stay quiet for a moment–don’t panic.
  • Decide if you want to try to get up.

If You Decide to Try to Get Up

  • Use strong, stable furniture for support.
  • After you get up, take time to recover.
  • Tell someone you had a fall.
  • Get medical help, if necessary.

If You Cannot Get Up, or Decide Not to Try

  • Slide or crawl to get help if you can.
  • Tell someone you need help.
  • After calling for help, remain calm until help arrives.
  • Keep warm and comfortable.
  • Get medical help, if necessary.

Click here to view the above information in a brochure form created by the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office. If you have further questions, you are encouraged to contact Portland Fire & Rescue's Public Education Office at (503) 823-3700.

May 13, 2010


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