New Zealand’s population is ageing and from the late 2030’s it is expected that over one quarter of the population will be over the age of 65. This paper addresses the reasons for the increased residential fire risk for older people. Information on older peoples experience and perception of fires in the home was gathered through a literature review, analysis of Coroners reports for residential fire deaths involving older people, structured interviews with older people who had recent experience of a fire in the home, and focus group discussions with older people. Finally, information was sought from agencies responsible for providing safe housing for many elderly. It is evident that the risks from fire for the older people are similar to other groups, but also reflect the vulnerabilities of very old people, and those with mobility restrictions and sensory losses. Effective fire safety interventions will require the collective involvement of health and social agencies, voluntary organisations, fire services and most importantly older people themselves as they have a direct interest in reducing the risks from a range of hazards in their lives.