Elderly about home fire safety: A qualitative study into home fire safety knowledge and behaviour

M. Karemaker*, G.A. ten Hoor, R.R. Hagen, C.H.M. van Schie, K. Boersma, R.A.C. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Elderly people are a high-risk group when it comes to fire in their homes and interventions are needed. A needs assessment regarding fire safe behaviour was conducted to 1) establish the perspectives of adults aged 65 years and older concerning fire-related topics, and 2) inform the design of fire safety programs. Qualitative interviews were conducted to study fire safety knowledge and fire safe behaviour among elderly in their home situation. The findings showed that participants lack detailed knowledge about risk behaviours that might cause a fire and their knowledge is limited to sources of fire or moments at which a fire can occur. However, elderly people do take preventive measures such as installing smoke alarms and planning an escape route. Determinants that are found to influence fire safe behaviour among elderly people are risk perception, self-efficacy, habits, and perceived barriers such as physical disabilities. Elderly perceive the risk of home fires as low while feeling confident in their abilities to act in case of a fire. This study broadens the field of fire safety by focusing on behaviours of elderly people and the underlying determinants, but more (quantitative) research is needed to confirm our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103391
Number of pages6
JournalFire Safety Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Home fire safety knowledge
  • Fire safe behaviour
  • Fire prevention
  • Elderly
  • Qualitative research

Cite this