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The state of the residential fire fatality problem in Sweden: Epidemiology, risk factors, and event typologies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Plastic Surgery.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9735-1434
2017 (English)In: Journal of Safety Research, ISSN 0022-4375, E-ISSN 1879-1247, Vol. 62, p. 89-100Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION: Residential fires represent the largest category of fatal fires in Sweden. The purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiology of fatal residential fires in Sweden and to identify clusters of events.

METHOD: Data was collected from a database that combines information on fatal fires with data from forensic examinations and the Swedish Cause of Death-register. Mortality rates were calculated for different strata using population statistics and rescue service turnout reports. Cluster analysis was performed using multiple correspondence analysis with agglomerative hierarchical clustering.

RESULTS: Male sex, old age, smoking, and alcohol were identified as risk factors, and the most common primary injury diagnosis was exposure to toxic gases. Compared to non-fatal fires, fatal residential fires more often originated in the bedroom, were more often caused by smoking, and were more likely to occur at night. Six clusters were identified. The first two clusters were both smoking-related, but were separated into (1) fatalities that often involved elderly people, usually female, whose clothes were ignited (17% of the sample), (2) middle-aged (45-64years old), (often) intoxicated men, where the fire usually originated in furniture (30%). Other clusters that were identified in the analysis were related to (3) fires caused by technical fault, started in electrical installations in single houses (13%), (4) cooking appliances left on (8%), (5) events with unknown cause, room and object of origin (25%), and (6) deliberately set fires (7%).

CONCLUSIONS: Fatal residential fires were unevenly distributed in the Swedish population. To further reduce the incidence of fire mortality, specialized prevention efforts that focus on the different needs of each cluster are required.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Cooperation between various societal functions, e.g. rescue services, elderly care, psychiatric clinics and other social services, with an application of both human and technological interventions, should reduce residential fire mortality in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 62, p. 89-100
Keywords [en]
Cluster analysis, Fatal fires, Fire deaths, Record linkage, Residential fire-related mortality
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334085DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2017.06.008ISI: 000411543500010PubMedID: 28882281OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334085DiVA, id: diva2:1158719
Available from: 2017-11-21 Created: 2017-11-21 Last updated: 2018-01-22Bibliographically approved

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