How the science of injury prevention contributes to advancing home fire safety in the USA: successes and opportunities

Andrea Gielen, Shannon Frattaroli, Keshia Pollack, Corinne Peek-Asa, Jingzhen G. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In the decades since the landmark report-America Burning-was published in 1973, the number of home fire deaths has shrunk from >5500 per year to 2650 in 2015. This paper: (1) describes how science and practice in injury prevention and fire and life safety contributed to successful interventions, and (2) identifies emerging strategies and future opportunities to prevent home fire-related deaths. METHODS: The aims are addressed through the lens of population health research, with a focus on the work of selected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Injury Control Research Centers. Results are organised using the Haddon Matrix and an ecological model. RESULTS: We found evidence to support interventions that address all components of both the matrix and the model, including: reduced ignition propensity cigarettes, stop smoking campaigns, housing codes, residential sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, community risk reduction, school-based educational programmes, and fire and burn response systems. Future reductions are likely to come from enhancing residential sprinkler and smoke alarm technology, and increasing their utilisation; expanding the use of community risk reduction methods; and implementing new technological solutions. Despite the successes, substantial disparities in home fire death rates remain, reflecting underlying social determinants of health. CONCLUSION: Most of the evidence-supported interventions were focused on changing the policy and community environments to prevent home fires and reduce injury when a fire occurs. Future prevention efforts should give high priority to addressing the continued disparities in home fire deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)i7-i13
JournalInjury prevention : journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • burn
  • haddon matrix
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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