Fight or flight? Behaviour and experiences of laypersons in the face of an incipient fire

Within minutes, an incipient fire can develop into a life-threatening full fire. Consequently, it should be fought as early as possible. But are laypersons capable of doing this? In such a situation, how do they behave and feel? These questions are addressed in the current study. Persons without any...

Authors: Thielsch, Meinald
Kirsch, Julia
Thölking, Hannah
Tangelder, Lena
Lamers, Christoph
Division/Institute:FB 07: Psychologie und Sportwissenschaft
Document types:Article
Media types:Text
Publication date:2020
Date of publication on miami:14.04.2021
Modification date:27.10.2021
Edition statement:[Electronic ed.]
Subjects:Firefighting; laypeople; attitudes; self-efficacy; training effects Forschungsprojekt FIRE
DDC Subject:150: Psychologie
License:InC 1.0
Language:English
Notes:Ergonomics 64 (2020) 2, 149-170
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in “Ergonomics” on 26 Oct 2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00140139.2020.1825824
The data of this study are available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3753931.
Funding:This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (funding code FKZ 13N14208).
Format:PDF document
URN:urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-87099595325
Other Identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2020.1825824
Permalink:https://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-87099595325
Digital documents:10.1080_00140139.2020.1825824.pdf

Within minutes, an incipient fire can develop into a life-threatening full fire. Consequently, it should be fought as early as possible. But are laypersons capable of doing this? In such a situation, how do they behave and feel? These questions are addressed in the current study. Persons without any professional firefighting training (N = 64) were confronted in two experimental runs with a real incipient fire in the form of a burning pillow. The results show that most participants were motivated and able to extinguish the fire successfully. However, most of them made a number of mistakes. Of central importance for extinguishing the fire was self-efficacy. Furthermore, participants improved greatly in the second round, especially regarding reaction time span and various psychological variables (e.g. stress, mood). Particularly on the basis of these exercise effects, we can derive a number of practical implications.