Fire kills – YOU can prevent it

Introduction:

Burn deaths and injuries are more common in people of lower socioeconomic status, and the survivors find their pre-injury poverty levels worsen after recovery. Many of these accidents are preventable by increasing knowledge in the community for fire safety. Research on fire-safety interventions in the United States suggests that simply giving people information is not enough unless behavior is changed by community participation, persuasive communication and directed self-monitoring.

 

Method:

This research is a preventative health intervention which could help minimize the risk and incidence of child burn injuries. It is based on an attempt to change community health behavior by impacting predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors of the health hazard. The intervention has four components: 1) enhancing pediatric counseling; 2) an on-site safety resource center; 3) home visits; and 4) fire safety Curriculum distribution. The essence of the intervention is community participation in the design, implementation, and monitoring processes, particularly through Participatory Rural Appraisal. Additionally, theoretical models of health behavior change are used to inform the intervention for persuasive communication, enhanced self-efficacy, modeling, and directed self-monitoring.

 

Results:

Research suggests that the most changeable and important factor for in-home child injuries is child-proofing. Child-proofing means making a home safer by simple in-home behavioral changes. Keeping this in mind pictography-based literature were designed; mothers from the intervention communities were selected to form a focus group  for discussion and distributing the material to change the health behavior, e.g. girls from poor families are expected to start cooking at a young age, exposing them to fire and hot oil. Similarly, boys who are expected to work in dangerous circumstances, such as welding shops to make a living and support their families.

 

Conclusions:

This study identified specific patterns and risk factors of pediatric burns. Burn prevention efforts should be directed towards mitigating these risk factors as well as educating parents.

Applicability of Research to Practice:

The research carried out through the school-system, where children who are themselves the high-risk population of a fire hazard were educated on fire safety. Arguments in favor of this approach are that it would have greater cost-effectiveness than the actual acute burn treatment.