Anthropogenic accidental dwelling fire : incident distribution, theory and the Fire and Rescue Service

Merrall, Steven.
(2002) Anthropogenic accidental dwelling fire : incident distribution, theory and the Fire and Rescue Service. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Over the past decade the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) has attended an average of 67,000 residential dwelling fires a year, resulting in an annual average of 14,000 casualties and 450 deaths in the UK (DCLG, 2007). Anthropogenic Accidental Dwelling Fire (AADF) is not a random phenomenon, and through the use of spatial and temporal pattern analysis, it can be shown to be disproportionately concentrated in areas that share common social, economic and environmental characteristics. Developing robust theory and methodology will improve the understanding of the nature of the problem and the ability to effectively target resources to areas of greatest need. This thesis presents the development of a new theoretical model of Anthropogenic Accidental Dwelling Fire incidence, bridging the theory gap in the existing research literature. The theoretical model developed identifies the component factors of potential domestic activity fire risk and the key role of trigger events, by act or omission, that combine to significantly increase the risk of fire within a dwelling. Spatial and temporal analysis of the distribution of over 17,000 individual AADF incidents, from the Greater Manchester area, was conducted utilising the nationally comprehensive and consistent ward level Indices of Deprivation 2000 (IMD) and the Enumeration District (ED) level SuperProfiles geodemographic typology. The analysis revealed statistically significant variation in the profile of incident distribution, operationally valuable to the FRS and of major policy importance. An AADF Routine Activities Time Classification was produced and an analytical methodology developed to derive temporal profiles for incidents across both area characteristic classifications and ignition categories. The AADF spatial-temporal ignition profiles were shown to vary significantly, providing valuable new empirical evidence in support of the implementation of the theoretical model and the utilisation of the methodology developed, informing both strategic policy and service delivery management of a modernising Fire & Rescue Service. A comprehensive national survey of FRS was undertaken and the results are critically reviewed, providing a snap shot of the data, systems, analysis and skills of the FRS, exploring the potential capacity of the organisation to utilise theory based research with evidence lead targeting and resource allocation. A practical application of the use of the IMD as a proxy for Fire & Rescue Service demand is then developed and tested, addressing a perverse incentive within the Standard Spending Assessment used to fund the FRS. A simple weighted model was over fitted to the known incident distribution of the case study area of Greater Manchester. The IMD group weightings derived were then extrapolated to national population distributions within IMD classes and the SSA recalculated. Finally the principal findings of the research are presented, the outcomes critically reviewed, policy implications discussed and recommendations made.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2023 14:38
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 14:50
DOI: 10.17638/03174870
Copyright Statement: Copyright © and Moral Rights for this thesis and any accompanying data (where applicable) are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.