Peer-reviewed research has, until now, not done a lot to identify best practices in home visit programs. A recent study1 hoped to make progress in that regard by gaining a few key insights into what wins maximum neighborhood participation in a fire department canvassing effort.
In over 170 separate canvassing events in Baltimore over a one-year period beginning in 2010, researchers zeroed in on several predictors of whether a resident would be:
- At home at the time of a visit.
- Willing to answer the door and allow firefighters to install a free smoke alarm and provide home safety education.
Research-based tips for canvassing events
To maximize community participation, fire departments should:
- Plan deliberately ahead of the event. Conduct your home visits on nights and weekends to significantly increase the odds of finding residents at home.
- Ask a community health worker to promote your event 3-4 days in advance by going door-to-door and speaking with residents, or leaving hang tags if no one is at home.
- Consider the weather. Residents in this study were reluctant to allow firefighters into their homes during rainy weather.
See also: Study reveals successful smoke alarm installation partnership
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1Debinski, B. McDonald, E., Frattaroli, S., Shields, W., Omaki, E., Gielen, A. (2017). Predictors of participation in a fire department community canvassing program. Journal of Burn Care and Research: Vol 38 (4), 225-229.