The purpose of this visual inquiry using ethnographic photographic research was to examine fire safety in homes of 42 urban older adults. Photographs were taken to document home fire safety (HFS) practices and grouped according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Home Safety Checklist categories. Participants had a mean age of 74 years, and were mostly African American (n=21, 57%), and female (n=32, 78%). Major findings from the photographs demonstrated unsafe electrical, cooking, and heating practices. Other HFS hazards related to installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms, smoking safety, and identification and practice of home fire escape plans. The findings will provide future direction for community education and fire prevention advocacy for older adults.


Home Fire Safety, Older Adults, Visual Inquiry

Author Bio(s)

Since 2003, Dr. Carlee Lehna has focused her research endeavors on burn injury prevention. She completed a mixed methods study on sibling experiences after a major burn injury for her doctoral dissertation and has presented burn injury prevention programs locally, regionally, and nationally. Dr. Lehna has served on the American Burn Association (ABA) Burn Prevention Committee and was recently named the recipient of the 2014 ABA Burn Prevention Award. She works with an interdisciplinary team including nurses, firefighters, and 62 The Qualitative Report 2015 community members to further her burn prevention research. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Dr. Carlee Lehna at: University of Louisville 555 S. Floyd St., Louisville, KY 40202; Phone: (502) 852-5104; Fax: (502) 852-8783; Email: c0lehn01@louisville.edu

Stephanie Twyman, RN, BSN, BA Research Assistant University of Louisville School of Nursing.

Erin Fahey, BSN, BS, RN, Program Coordinator University of Louisville School of Nursing.

Mary-Beth Coty, PhD, APRN-BC, Associate Professor, School of Nursing University of Louisville.

Joseph Williams, BS, Captain, Fire Inspector Louisville Fire Department.

Drane Scrivener, BS, Sgt., Fire Inspector Louisville Fire Department.

Gracie Wishnia, PhD, RN-BC Peaceful Families, PLLC, Louisville, KY.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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