What is LIFEBID?
This research project is a collaboration between several professional organisations involved in fire safety. We are interested in learning about how people respond when a fire occurs; specifically a fire affecting their home. The fire may be small (e.g. a little flame or smoke contained around the item that ignited) or may be more severe (e.g. a whole room or property engulfed by flames, smoke and intense heat).

We want to better understand the range and causes of behavioural responses (i.e. thoughts, feelings, actions) to dwelling fires and the outcomes of such incidents. In many cases it is the occupants’ responses that result in the fire being successfully put out with minimal, if any, harm to persons and property. In more severe cases, occupants might be forced to turn their attention to other activities such as getting themselves and/or others out, and endure hazardous conditions presenting a much greater risk of harm.

By gaining access to and studying the experiences of people who were there as the incident happened, a more detailed picture of dwelling fires, occupant behaviours and needs can be formed.

How will the research data be used?
Occupants’ experiences will be coded and stored anonymously in the LIFEBID database and the data analysed. Lessons learned can, in turn, be used to help inform initiatives to educate and assist both fire and rescue services and the general public in how to (a) reduce the number of fires and (b) minimise harm to people and property when a fire does occur. The work of other professional organisations involved in public safety (e.g. medical services, government agencies, building designers, manufacturers and suppliers of fire protection systems, etc.) may also benefit from this enhanced understanding.

Who is involved?
The LIFEBID project has evolved from a knowledge transfer partnership between Kent Fire & Rescue Service and the University of Greenwich and has become a collaborative effort involving fire and rescue services, academics and other relevant stakeholders. Representatives from these organisations comprise the LIFEBID National Advisory Board, which is available to offer specialist input on key themes and the potential benefits and applications of the research. Professor Ed Galea (University of Greenwich) and Jason Thelwell (Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Chief Fire Officers Association) were the first Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the National Advisory Board.

Project backing
This research is officially recognised and backed by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the South East Fire Improvement Partnership (SEFIP). Other organisations from various sectors and regions of the UK have also been coming on board, ensuring wider participation and relevance. A list of official project partners can be found here.