An assessment of the impact of home safety assessments on fires and fire-related injuries: a case study of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service


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Abstract

BackgroundDeaths and injuries related to fires are largely preventable events. In the UK, a plethora of community-based fire safety initiatives have been introduced over the last 25 years, often led by fire and rescue services, to address this issue. This paper focuses on one such initiative—home safety assessments (HSAs). Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (in England) implemented a uniquely large-scale HSA intervention. This paper assesses its effectiveness.MethodsThe impact of HSAs was assessed in relation to three outcomes: accidental dwelling fires (ADFs), ADFs contained and injuries arising from ADFs. A two-period comparison in fire-related rates of incidences in Cheshire between 2002 and 2011 was implemented, using Poisson regression and adjusting for the national temporal trend using a control group comprising the 37 other English non-metropolitan fire-services.ResultsSignificant reductions were observed in rates of ADFs [incidence rate ratios (IRR): 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.74–0.83, P < 0.001, 2002/03–2007/08 versus 2008/09–2010/11] and associated injuries (IRR: 0.49, 95% CI: 0.39–0.60, P < 0.001, 2002/03–2006/07 versus 2007/08–2010/11), but not in the proportion of fires contained to room of origin.ConclusionsThere is strong evidence to suggest that the intervention was successful in reducing domestic fires and related injuries.

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