Fire Safety

The Burning Issue: FireAngel’s podcast debut

Nick Rutter joins the ‘1202 Human Factors’ podcast to explore how the IoT can provide data-driven insights on human behaviour in fire safety.

The 1202 Human Factors podcast explores a wide range of topics looking at human behaviour, ergonomics, technology and user-centred design interviewing specialists from across a wide range of industries.

FireAngel’s Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, joined podcast host Barry Kirby on ‘The Burning Issue’ episode to talk about the role of human behaviour in fire incidents and how technology can help pinpoint hidden risk in our communities.

The Burning Issue

The Human Factors podcast

In 2019-2020, there were over 35,000 dwelling fires in the UK leading to 285 fire related deaths, according to Home Office statistics. Of these, 67% of fires were attributed to human causes.

In this episode, Nick shares his thoughts on why the IoT is set to transform fire safety and help us gain data-driven insights into human behaviour and the causes of fire.

Watch the video interview in full below or listen on Spotify.

Fire and human behaviour

The most common cause of house fires is cooking, with almost 50% of all fires in the UK starting in the kitchen.

Speaking to Barry, Nick says: “It’s the room where we get things very hot intentionally, so it’s no surprise. However, it’s less severe from a fatality perspective – only accounting for around 10% of fatalities in the UK. A lot of fires happen at night that go on to become fatal fires.

Fortunately fires are relatively rare,” Nick continues. “However, what happens in those situations where there is a fire is not very well understood and it’s an area of huge interest to us at FireAngel. There’s fantastic opportunities with the use of IoT to understand it more.”

Using IoT in fire safety

The Human Factors podcast

When asked by Barry on the ‘sort of behaviours FireAngel is able to predict’, Nick references how historical data was pulled from FireAngel alarms that had been involved in a serious fire revealed there are broadly two types of domestic fires.

There are completely accidental fires, such as an electrical fault,” Nick explains. “Then there are lifestyle related fires. People who are having lifestyle related fires, normally don’t just have a one-off event.

It’s actually quite difficult to start a fire. What we realised is that for some people who were having serious fires, there was a pattern of smaller events days, weeks or months before the serious fire.”

Outlining the root causes of these patterns, Nick explains that factors such as alcohol and drug abuse, mental health issues and age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s are all counted as high-risk behaviour.

FireAngel Predict® is looking for this pattern of high-risk behaviour. If it sees this pattern, it creates a Predict® notification to enable pro-active intervention by housing associations or a local fire and rescue service.

Predict™ effectively gives you a real-time stratification of risk, with the ability to monitor risk and where it sits in your properties and allows you to use your budget in a more focused way.

To have this window into the behaviour of our products in the field is the biggest single innovation opportunity the industry has had.”

Hear Nick’s full interview with Barry or find out more about 1202 The Human Factors podcast.