A review of sociological issues in fire safety regulation

Spinardi, Graham, Bisby, Luke and Torero, Jose (2016) A review of sociological issues in fire safety regulation. Fire Technology, 53 3: 1-27. doi:10.1007/s10694-016-0615-1

Author Spinardi, Graham
Bisby, Luke
Torero, Jose
Title A review of sociological issues in fire safety regulation
Journal name Fire Technology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1572-8099
Publication date 2016-07-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10694-016-0615-1
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 53
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 27
Total pages 27
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Language eng
Subject 2500 Materials Science
2213 Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
Abstract This paper presents an overview of contemporary sociological issues in fire safety. The most obviously social aspects of fire safety—those that relate to the socioeconomic distribution of fire casualties and damage—are discussed first. The means that society uses to mitigate fire risks through regulation are treated next; focusing on the shift towards fire engineered solutions and the particular challenges this poses for the social distribution and communication of fire safety knowledge and expertise. Finally, the social construction of fire safety knowledge is discussed, raising questions about whether the confidence in the application of this knowledge by the full range of participants in the fire safety design and approvals process is always justified, given the specific assumptions involved in both the production of the knowledge and its extension to applications significantly removed from the original knowledge production; and the requisite competence that is therefore needed to apply this knowledge. The overarching objective is to argue that the fire safety professions ought to be more reflexive and informed about the nature of the knowledge and expertise that they develop and apply, and to suggest that fire safety scientists and engineers ought to actively collaborate with social scientists in research designed to study the way people interact with fire safety technology.
Keyword Expertise
Fire safety
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
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