Experiencing a domestic fire : an overview of key findings from a post incident research programme

Clark, A and Smith, J 2015, 'Experiencing a domestic fire : an overview of key findings from a post incident research programme' , Safer Communities, 14 (2) , pp. 95-103.

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to report on a research project investigating people’s experiences of domestic fires in a Northern UK city region. Although there is much research exploring behaviours during fire incidents and identifying who, where and (to a lesser extent) why, fires occur, there is little understanding of people’s experiences of domestic fires. This includes how individuals come to reflect on and understand the incident; how they articulate how events unfolded leading up to, during and immediately post incident; and how experiencing an incident may influence an individual’s perception of fire risk or the possibility of him or her experiencing a further fire. This paper contributes to this understanding by providing an overview of key findings from a recent empirical research project.

Design/methodology/approach: A participative, qualitative research design was developed in which Community Safety Advisors (CSAs) were trained in data collection and analysis techniques. CSAs undertook interviews with 72 individuals who had experienced a non-fatal domestic fire incident between 2012 and 2013. The interviews were transcribed and analysed by the authors in consultation with CSAs through a series of “action research” and “participative data analysis” workshops and events.

Findings: The authors report on key findings from the study with respect to how people recollect the fire incident; their understanding of why it occurred and what could have been done to prevent it; and their reflections on how the incident may (or may not) have influenced their current views on fire and fire risk.

Research limitations/implications: The research has a number of implications for research and policy. This includes greater understanding for the role of narrative data in understanding fire incidents and post incident reflections, as well as recognising the potential for fire and rescue services to widen their research and analysis agendas. Analysis also identifies the importance of clear communication in prevention strategies, including with respect to communicating the causes of fire and the “get out-stay out” message.

Originality/value: The authors believe the research project to be one of the first, internationally, to record qualitative experiences of domestic fires and situate these experiences within a broader framework of fire risk. In presenting an overview of the findings here, the intention is to promote our learning to other researchers and practitioners in the fire-risk sector and beyond.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Safer Communities
Publisher: Emerald
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1757-8043
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: AJ Clark
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2018 09:58
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/35471

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