Sweden has a national vision zero policy on fire, declaring that no one should die or be seriously injured in fire-related incidents. Residential fire is by far the largest category of fatal fires in Sweden, accounting for about three-quarters of all fatalities. Access to reliable data about injured in a fire is considerably worse than for the dead. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine fire-related injuries leading to inpatient care in Sweden.
Retrospective data on rescue service attended fires were linked to patients treated at Swedish hospitals during 2010. Thereby both fire and individual characteristics could be described for hospital admissions due to residential fires. Incidence rates of fires were calculated by dividing the number of fires with serious injured by the number of rescue service attended fires.
A total of 219 patients were admitted to hospitals due to a residential fire-related injury in 2010. The median age was 57 years. Of all the patients admitted, 124 (60%) were male and 95 female (40%), giving a male:female ratio of 1.3:1. The number of seriously injured per 1000 fires were almost twice as high in apartments than in houses. Most fires with injuries started in the kitchen but fires that started in the bedroom had the greatest risk. Increased risk were observed in fires caused by smoking.
Residential fires with seriously injured shows similarities and differences, regarding risk groups and risk factors both in comparison to fatal fires and compared to all residential fires. This supports the hypothesis that deaths and injuries in fire are drawn from different populations. This study provides information on magnitude, characteristics, and causes which is an important first step in reducing the number of seriously injured due to residential fires. Also the results illustrates factors that increase or decrease the risk of injury.