Falls in home are leading cause of injury-related deaths

CREATED Apr 24, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 25, 2012

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MADISON - In Wisconsin, it's the most common cause of injury related deaths. 

People falling in their home.

Audio: Click to hear Erik's report on WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News.

"The home environment is a place where there are a lot of fall hazards," said Ann Christiansen, of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  "(Fatal falls in the home) are more common than motor vehicle crashes, homicides, poisonings, etc."

In 2008, there were 571 fatal car crashes compared to 917 fatal falls in the home, according to a report by the state Department of Health Services.  The number has increased in recent years.

Most of the victims are the elderly, Christiansen said.

"Rugs, cords, pets, or newspapers on the floor can contribute to people falling," she explained.

Helping the cause

The Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council wants is working to prevent fatal falls.

"We're trying to make the home safer.  That's our objective," said David Amoroso, president of the Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council

The Milwaukee NARI group is partnering with Rebuilding Together - Greater Milwaukee by renovating homes in southeastern Wisconsin.

"It could be as simple as switching light-bulbs, installing non-skid mats in baths and showers, putting in grab-bars," Amoroso explained. 

Just being mindful of the potential hazards can help prevent deaths, Christiansen said.

"A home assessment can help people realize what those hazards might be."