Helping Yourself After a Fall

By Einar Jensen, Risk Reduction Specialist

South Metro Fire Rescue


As our fire district’s population continues to grow–and age–our collective needs are changing.  Over the last year, South Metro Fire Rescue’s Community Risk Reduction Bureau (CRRB) performed a strategic analysis of our services and found we needed to expand our educational outreach for older residents.

In 2020, roughly 40% of SMFR’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls were for patients aged 65 and older.  Additionally, falls and lift assists were approximately 20% of the total EMS calls in the fire district.

Nationwide, falls are a leading cause of death for people aged 65 and older, and more than half of patients who suffer a hip fracture never regain their previous level of independence/functioning.  Clearly, falls can be devastating, but some falls don’t cause any physical injuries.

 You’ve Fallen; Now What?

After a fall, assess your condition.  Hopefully you remember why you fell: maybe you stumbled over the cat, slipped on ice, missed a step, or didn’t see the bump in the sidewalk.  Do you feel pain anywhere?  Do you see blood?  Can you move all your joints?

If you are able, roll onto your side and check your condition again to make sure that movement didn’t expose any injuries.

Roll or scoot to a sturdy piece of furniture and use it to move into a kneeling position.  Move into a kneeling position on your hands and knees.  Do that self-assessment again.  Take your time so your blood pressure can stabilize and you can prevent yourself from fainting.

While kneeling, bring one leg forward and put that foot on the floor.  Place your arms on the furniture and push up with your arms and legs so you can sit on the furniture.  Self-assess and rest for a moment.  Almost done.

Finally, scoot to the edge of the furniture and lean so your nose is over your toes.  Use your leg, core, and arm muscles to stand.  Self-assess and rest.  Congratulations, you self-lifted after a fall. 

If you are with someone who falls, you can coach them through that same process.   You can watch SMFR’s Captain lift Assist video for tips, too:

 Sometimes 911 is the Best Reaction

Some falls are worse than others.  We definitely want you, a loved one, or a caregiver to call 911 if the person who fell meets any of the following conditions:

  • She bonked her head.
  • He feels neck or back pain.
  • She is taking blood thinners.
  • He fainted or fell for no apparent reason.

When in doubt or you aren’t sure what to do, call 911.  Our firefighters will respond promptly to take care of you.

Starting this spring, SMFR and the South Metro Safety Foundation are offering new risk reduction programs for older adults and family members.  Initiatives include: 

  • Monthly Safety Skills for Older Adults Class
  • Monthly Caring for Older Adults Class
  • Quarterly newsletter with classes, events, and resources for older adults
  • Volunteer opportunities to reduce isolation and provide resource packets


If you would like to sign up for this newsletter or check out the classes available, visit or add your name to our contact list at