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Domestic fire risk : a narrative review of social science literature and implications for future research

Clark, AJ; Smith, J; Conroy, C


AJ Clark

J Smith


In this paper, we make the case for more social science research into fire incidents and fire-related risk behaviour. Unlike other vulnerabilities, such as crime, illness or risk-associated activities such as smoking, or accident avoidance, remarkably little research has focused on this area. This is perhaps surprising given the propensity for fire, its emotional, social and economic impacts, and evidence that fires and fire victims are not equally distributed across socio-demographic or geographical domains. In making our case, we outline: recent numbers and trends in incidents in the UK, focusing on domestic incidents and recent policy developments affecting fire and rescue services. Next, we review the social-science based literature on fire incidents, suggesting that while this offers useful insight, much more needs to be done to develop a rigorous evidence base. While we would not want to dismiss or downplay existing social science contributions, our contention is that a considerable number of opportunities exist for further work in this area. Consequently, we propose a number of ways in which popular ideas about risk theory can be applied to a domestic fire context and raise a number of questions that social scientists are well positioned to contribute to an interdisciplinary understanding of domestic fire incidents and associated risks.


Clark, A., Smith, J., & Conroy, C. (2015). Domestic fire risk : a narrative review of social science literature and implications for future research. Journal of Risk Research, 18(9), 1113-1129.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2014
Online Publication Date May 8, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 10, 2015
Journal Journal of Risk Research
Print ISSN 1366-9877
Electronic ISSN 1470-1219
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 9
Pages 1113-1129
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