The first phase of a comprehensive investigation into the underlying conditions associated with fire deaths and serious fire injuries in domestic dwellings in Scotland, for the period from April 2013 to March 2017, has been completed.
By reviewing the data from 38 areas detailed in the Incident Recording System (which is used by fire and rescue services to record incidents attended), key factors and common conditions were identified under which fatalities and serious injuries occur. This enabled a profile of a person involved in a typical fire fatality or serious injury to be formed, and the associated demographic profile and common background conditions to be identified.
Factors such as living alone, being vulnerable or elderly, falling asleep or being asleep, having medical conditions, illnesses or temporary lack of physical mobility, or not hearing the alarm all contribute.
Fourteen recommendations have been made to address the highlighted fire safety issues and concerns that current technologies and approaches may not provide sufficient protection for vulnerable people. The recommendations are targeted at further developing existing technologies to safeguard vulnerable people, and generally reducing fire-related fatalities and serious injuries in the future. They include:
- providing additional warnings from smoke alarms;
- increasing the use of combined detection and suppression water mist systems;
- developing video analytic techniques;
- reviewing fires from electrical items and proposing ways to reduce their occurrence;
- making the greater use of the most appropriate means of fire in domestic dwellings.
The next phase of this research work will focus further on specific details from fire investigation reports for each of the 126 domestic fire fatalities occurring in the review period. In order to assess the proposed recommendations, the potential effectiveness of each of them will be considered during the review of the fire investigation reports.
BRE Global is now exploring opportunities for performing similar collaborative studies in other countries.
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