Aim: To examine time trends and deprivation gradients in fire-related deaths and injuries.
Methods: A cross-sectional study and time trend analysis using data on fire casualties in England between 1995 and 2004 obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Injury rates were calculated assuming a Poisson distribution. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated to compare changes in deprivation gradients over time.
Results: There were significant reductions in fatal and non-fatal fire injuries in children (fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(1) = 11.18, P < 0.001; non-fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(2) = 61.44, P < 0.001), adults (fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(1) = 15.99, P < 0.001; non-fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(2) = 183.25, P < 0.001) and older people (fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(1) = 56.88, P < 0.001; non-fatal injuries IRR chi(2)(2) = 54.09, P < 0.001) between 1995 and 2004. Adult and child fire deaths were most commonly caused by smokers' materials (e.g. cigarettes, cigars and tobacco), and cigarette lighters and matches, respectively. Cooking appliances caused most non-fatal fire injuries. Injury rates increased with increasing levels of deprivation and deprivation gradients did not change over 10 years.
Conclusions: Fire prevention interventions should promote the safe use of cooking and heating appliances and the responsible use of smokers' materials, lighters and matches, and should target those at greater risk of fire, including the socially disadvantaged.