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Identifying sociodemographic risk factors associated with residential fire fatalities: a matched case control study


Objectives This study aimed to investigate the association between sociodemographic factors and residential fire fatalities in Sweden. A majority of fatal fires occur in housing. An understanding of risk factors and risk groups is a must for well-founded decisions regarding targeted prevention efforts. There is a lack of consideration of the interrelation between sociodemographic factors and fire fatalities and there is a lack of high quality large-scale studies.

Methods In this matched case-control study, residential fire fatalities (cases, n=850) (age above 19 years old) were identified in the national register on fatal fires. Four controls per case were randomly matched by gender and age. ORs were calculated to assess the association between different sociodemographic factors with residential fire fatalities using conditional logistic regression.

Results Having low income, receiving social allowance and receiving health-related early retirement pension were associated with an increased risk of dying in residential fires. The results also show clearly that adults dying in residential fires to a significantly lower extent were living together with a partner, were in work, were highly educated and lived in urban areas. However, contrary to previous research, living in rented apartments appeared not to influence the risk of death.

Conclusions In this study, we show that fatalities due to residential fires in Sweden are associated with some but not all of previously published sociodemographic risk factors. The results provide valuable information that can improve the guiding and targeting of fire mortality prevention strategies in Sweden.

  • case-control study
  • risk factor research
  • burn
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