Fatal Residential Fires: Prevention and Response

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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Fatal fires in residential occupancies show a decreasing trend over time, but are still responsible for taking
approximately 90 lives in Sweden each year. Much is known about the victims, but less is known about how these
deaths can be prevented. There is research on the effectiveness of different measures, but generally they are populationaverage
effectiveness and, since different groups are known to be subject to quite different scenarios, this effectiveness
is not necessarily representative of the effectiveness for any specific group. Therefore, group-specific effectiveness is
derived in this thesis. The results indicate that smoke alarms are effective for most groups, but additional measures are
needed for some groups. This is particularly true for older adults, for whom synthetic clothes and detector-activated
sprinklers are highly effective.
Also, responses to potentially fatal fires in residential occupancies are almost missing from the literature and were
therefore analysed in the thesis. The conclusion was that fire services saved 51 lives during the studied year (2017),
which indicates that the number of fatalities in residential occupancies would have increased by 58% in that year
without fire service responses. Response time was found to be important, but also what the crew could perform on
arrival at each scene, because many were developed fires that required breathing apparatus to perform the rescue. In
another study, responses by other actors were also included for older adults (65+), indicating that, in addition to the
fire service, neighbours are very important, but for the oldest individuals home care also played an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Division of Fire Safety Engineering
  • van Hees, Patrick, Supervisor
  • Johansson, Nils, Assistant supervisor
Award date2020 Jan 23
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-7895-396-7
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-7895-397-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2020-01-23
Time: 13:15
Place: Lecture hall V:D, building V, John Ericssons väg 1, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University, Lund.
External reviewer(s)
Name: Hakkarainen, Tuula.
Title: Dr.
Affiliation: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Engineering and Technologies

Free keywords

  • Residential fires
  • Fatal fires
  • Fire services
  • Fire fatalities
  • Emergency services
  • Smoke alarms
  • Sprinkler system
  • Prevention
  • Response


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