Old, hurt and alone for two nights on a freezing floor

AN INJURED 70-year-old man lay alone on the floor of his Toowoomba home for two nights in freezing temperatures.

Paramedics were able to talk to the man when they embarked on a rescue mission about 5pm Saturday, but were forced to call in firefighters to gain entry to the home.

They were alerted to the injured man after calls went unanswered for two days.

Crews broke through the door and assisted paramedics carry him to a waiting ambulance.

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It's a timely reminder to keep an eye on our elderly residents, and our neighbours.

Queensland Ambulance senior operations supervisor Brad Setch said the elderly were particularly at risk in cooler months and a fall outside at dusk could prove fatal.

"To have a fall inside the house is one thing but outside late in the afternoon when it is all but dark by 5pm could be fatal for an elderly person," he said.

"I think they are more at risk if they're stuck outside at this time of the year than in summer time because of hypothermia and the elderly who drop their temperatures quite rapidly."

Mr Setch urged residents to work out a system to avoid repeats of the weekend's incident.

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"If it's a relative, have a quick phone call at night or put a system in place where they touch base at 7pm for a five-minute chat," Mr Setch said.

"Make sure that if you don't make contact that you go around and check on them."

Mr Setch said a welfare system could be as simple as a kindly neighbour keeping watch for a light turned on at a certain time which could indicate if a person was safe.

QFES Kitchener St station officer Tony Guse said fire crews had been called to three fires in three days after people carelessly disposed of fireplace ashes.

Fire crews have dealt with two fence fires which ignited after high winds caught the hot ashes.

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"From our point of view, we encourage people to look after their neighbours so then can not only be good members of the community but because it also builds a good sense of community," he said.

"The number one thing is anyone using wood fire places should have their chimney and flute inspected.

"The second big thing is that when discarding ashes out of fireplaces that they either wet them down or store them within a non-combustible container until extinguished."

He said heating appliances should be kept at least one metre from clothing and combustible items.


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