Human Behaviour during Residential Cooking Fires in a Canadian Prairie City: Trends, Concerns and Implications for Safety Promotion

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Rozzet JURDI-HAGE, Sociology & Social Studies, University of Regina, Canada
Candace GIBLETT, Regina Fire & Protective Services, Canada
Angela PRAWZICK, Regina Fire & Protective Services, Canada
Allison PATTON, Sociology & Social Studies, University of Regina, Canada
Human behaviour in residential fires has received limited attention from Canadian fire and rescue services. Canada does not have an ongoing national fire information database, leading to important gaps in fire research. This means that with regard to residential fires, Canadian fire services have only very limited knowledge and lack supporting empirical data about ways people behave during residential fires. To complicate matters, there are many messages which are contradictory about ways to handle small residential fires, and there is little empirical research on effectiveness or fire injury risks associated with different approaches, despite widespread acceptance of people’s predisposition to intervene and potential danger associated with ineffective host intervention. The impetus behind this research came from Regina Fire & Protective Services (RFPS). Residential careless cooking fires (RCCFs) are an ongoing and serious problem in the City of Regina. A community-based participatory research partnership between RFPS and the University of Regina, this project is providing key data to understand the human dimension of RCCFs: It’s people who start these fires, not technology. Applying concepts of Brennan and Thomas’ Paradigm of Human Behaviour in Fires and the Haddon Matrix to facilitate a better understanding of the circumstances and influences that act on hosts implicated in these occurrences, the present study analyzes primary survey data collected between 2014-2015 using RFPS’ Residential Cooking Fire Form, developed to meet the objectives of this project, to examine nature, correlates and casualty risks of host intervention behaviour and specific actions taken in response to RCCFs and how these behaviours relate to effective safety strategies. The benefits of making decisions informed by empirical data from “real” behaviour in RCCFs are considerable for design, targeting and dissemination of relevant fire-safety messaging; messaging that to achieve the best outcomes accounts and works with what people actually did during such fires.