House fire victims' views sought for knowledge-building project

People can anonymously submit their written experiences online about how they behaved during a fire in the home which they encountered in the past 12 months as part of a pilot project.

The scheme - Lessons in Fire and Evacuation Behaviour in Dwelling (LIFEBID) - is the result of a link-up involving nine Fire and Rescue Services and the University of Greenwich.

The £200,000 project will then feedback to firefighters to help them develop their service response to house fires in the future.

Fresh research

Simon Sumners, an Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service Home and Community Safety Officer, said: "Surprisingly there has been very limited research about how people behave during a fire in their home; what their goals and priorities were as it was happening and what the impact was of the flames and the smoke.

"We are interested to hear about all accidental home fires, large or small, and whether Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended or not. The survey is completely anonymous: all we want to hear about is people's experiences.

"Information gathered will be valuable to Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as it will give us a unique insight and will enable us to develop our practices in the future."

Making the county a safer place

Councillor Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council's Deputy Leader, who has Cabinet responsibility for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has made engaging with the public a key part of its ethos to help make the county a safer place, and LIFEBID is another element of this important work.

"I would encourage people to take part in this survey, give accounts of their house fire experiences and help firefighters understand better just how people react and how they feel when they encounter a house fire."


LIFEBID was awarded funding through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, which included contributions from Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The survey is part of 365alive, a successful educational initiative hatched eight years ago by Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service to make the county a safer place.

The other fire and rescue services taking part in LIFEBID are Kent; Hampshire; Surrey; east Sussex; west Sussex; Buckinghamshire; Royal Berkshire and the Isle of Wight.

People can call 08000 325999 for advice on completing the survey.