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Beaulieu E, Smith J, Zheng A, Pike I. CMAJ Open 2019; 7(3): E562-E567.


BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (Beaulieu, Smith, Zheng, Pike); Department of Pediatrics (Beaulieu, Pike), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.


(Copyright © 2019, Canadian Medical Association)






BACKGROUND: This study assessed whether socioeconomic factors affect the rates of residential fire incidence and fire-related injuries and deaths, and whether children are affected differently than the general population.

METHODS: We employed a cross-sectional study design using data for British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario from the National Fire Information Database, which includes fire incidents and losses reported by provincial fire marshals across Canada between 2005 and 2015. It also contains 2011 census subdivision social domain data from Statistics Canada based on fire location. Multivariable negative binomial regressions tested the significance of relations between census subdivision socioeconomic factors (average household size, educational attainment, median income and unemployment rate) and the rates of residential fires and casualties per person-year, and casualties per fire incident.

RESULTS: Census subdivisions with higher educational attainment and unemployment rates had higher rates of residential fires (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.10, and IRR 1.24, 95% CI 1.18-1.31, respectively) and of residential fire casualties per person-year (IRR 1.09, 95% CI 1.05-1.13, and IRR 1.29, 95% CI 1.20-1.40, respectively). Census subdivisions with smaller average households had higher rates of residential fire casualties per person-year (IRR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22-0.83) and per fire incident (IRR 0.75, 95% CI 0.58-0.97), and the association was even stronger for children (IRR 0.17, 95% CI 0.08-0.36, and IRR 0.41, 95% CI 0.20-0.86, respectively).

INTERPRETATION: The results suggest that efforts to prevent residential fires should be prioritized in neighbourhoods with higher educational attainment and unemployment, whereas house fire safety programs should be intensified in neighbourhoods with smaller households to prevent fire casualties, especially among children, once a fire does occur.

Copyright 2019, Joule Inc. or its licensors.

Language: en


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