Research carried out in priority areas in Bristol to investigate the effectiveness of the Home Fire Safety Visit (HFSV) conducted by Avon Fire and Rescue Service to educate residents about home fire safety had the following key findings:
In general and prior to HFSV’s householders tended to over-estimate their safety, experienced complacency with respect to fire hazards and often made (un)reasonable adaptions/avoidances to overcome potential hazards, and this increases with age. Understanding these pre-conceptions could enable FRS to tailor and target their advice, possibly leading to more impact.
Residents’ experience of the HFSV was varied due to specific needs and vulnerabilities. Some of the older residents in this research experienced specific cognitive issues (e.g. memory problems) that inhibited their ability to engage in some of the suggested safety behaviours suggesting that some adaptation to the HFSV is required in order to more fully meet the needs in the community.
The HFSV offers an opportunity for those who have knowledge about safety to receive reassurance about their information and behaviours, and to check and correct those who are operating with incorrect knowledge and behaviours. Some simple and easily achievable behaviour changes were made. However more complex and sustained behaviour changes were more difficult to ascertain. There is a suggestion that cost and vulnerabilities (including age and health) constrain behaviour change. There is opportunity for further research using a more complex research design and longer time period would to investigate this area fully.