The impact of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Home Safety Visits on the Health Seeking Behaviour of Residents in Gleadless Valley

Olisaeloka Nsonwu studied on the Master of Public Health programme at ScHARR and graduated with merit in January 2015. Olisaeloka decided to study the MPH because of his interest in understanding the issues, factors and behaviour that determine and affect an individual's health. His experience from the programme was nothing short of fulfilling, learning and gaining valuable experience while conducting his placement project with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
Since completing the MPH programme Olisaeloka has been working as a Scientist (Epidemiology) in Public Health England where he is involved in the national surveillance and monitoring of healthcare associated infections, invasive bacterial infections and antimicrobial resistance. His goal now is to excel in a career in Public Health Intelligence.

The title of Olisaeloka's dissertation project was 'The impact of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Home Safety Visits on the Health Seeking Behaviour of Residents in Gleadless Valley'.


Introduction: The aim of the project was to determine the impact of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s home safety visits on the health seeking behaviour of residents in Gleadless Valley, by determining the outcome of the home safety visits on their knowledge of fire safety and prevention as well as their experience and attitude towards the home safety visits.

Method: This study used a qualitative, cross-sectional, non-experimental approach, by conducting one-on-one interviews with participants. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using a thematic analysis framework with three themes; retention of knowledge on fire safety messages, attitude of participants toward the home safety visits and practice of the fire safety messages after the home safety visits.

Findings:  A total of 16 sub-themes were observed which suggested that participants did not remember most of the fire safety messages given to them during their home safety visits and that most participants were satisfied with the home safety visits. It also found that older adults among the participants (over 65 years old) felt they had not gained any new knowledge on fire safety and engaged in some practices that exposed them to the risk of injury or death from a residential fire.

Conclusion: Providing fire safety messages to participants is not enough to make participants adopt fire safety practices. However as shown from this study, the provision of safety equipment (smoke alarms) and an emphasis to participants on; the dangers of residential fires, as well as the associated benefits of practising fire safety messages (during home safety visits) could help increase participants practice of fire safety messages.

Key words: Home safety visits, fire prevention, fire safety knowledge retention