Fire and scald burn risks in urban communities: Who is at risk and what do they believe about home safety?

E. M. Parker, A. C. Gielen, E. M. McDonald, W. C. Shields, A. R. Trump, K. M. Koon, V. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


While largely preventable, fire and hot waterrelated injuries are common in the United States. Measures recommended to reduce these injuries are smoke alarms (SAs) and lowered hot water temperatures. This study aims to: (i) describe the prevalence of working SAs and safe water temperatures among low-income, urban communities and (ii) explore the relationship between these behaviors and individuals' knowledge and beliefs about them. In this crosssectional study, the Health Belief Model was used as a guide for understanding the safety behaviors. A total of 603 households had their SAs and hot tap water temperatures tested and were surveyed about their knowledge and beliefs related to these safety behaviors. We found that 40% of households had working SAs on every level and 57% had safe hot water temperatures. Perceived severity and self-efficacy were significantly associated with SA coverage, whereas perceived susceptibility and beliefs about benefits were significantly associated with safe hot water temperatures. This study demonstrates the need to increase the number of homes with working SAs and safe hot water temperatures. Messages focused on a safe home environment could communicate the ease and harmreduction features of SAs and benefits and risk reduction features of safe hot water temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-611
Number of pages13
JournalHealth education research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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