The Perception of Socio-Demographic Risk Factors in Residential Fires
Sammanfattning: In this thesis, it is investigated how the general public and fire safety experts perceive the fire fatality risk of different socio-demographic factors in residential settings. Their perceptions were compared with how the socio-demographic factors correlate with the risk of fatal fires in residents in reality. The purpose of this work was to find out where resources need to be directed and who needs to be educated further to prevent the fire risks connected to these socio-demographic factors. By comparing the real-life socio-demographic factors and the perception of socio-demographic factors, we hoped a broader perspective would be found and thereby enable preventive work against the inequalities in fire safety. The methods used in the thesis are a literature review, a survey, and an interview study. Through the survey, information about the general public’s risk perception was received. The interview study was conducted to investigate how fire safety experts perceive the factors correlated with the risk of fatal fires in residents. This was done by interviewing fire safety consultants and people who work in the rescue service. The literature review was performed to determine how socio-demographics correlate with the risk of fatal fires in residential buildings in reality. After comparing the perception and reality, the main conclusion is that there are some areas in which the general public and fire safety experts have insufficient knowledge of how the socio-demographic factors impact the fire fatality risk. The general public were knowledgeable about the impacts of smoking, alcohol and old age. Their perception did, however, not match the reality on the following factors: Use of sedatives and antidepressants, children younger than five years old, country of origin, small and rural municipalities, education level, employment status, low income, lives alone and disabilities. The fire safety experts’ perception did not match reality on the following factors: Country of origin, use of sedatives and antidepressants and type of municipality. Based on this, the general public and fire safety experts could be educated further on some socio-demographic factors to continue the work on reducing inequalities in fire safety.
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