Risk and protective behaviours for residential carbon monoxide poisoning
Published Date:May 31 2012
Source:Inj Prev. 19(2):119-123.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4556265
Funding:SCD3/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
Unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a leading cause of poisoning death and injury in the USA. Residential poisonings caused by faulty furnaces are the most common type of CO exposure. However, these poisonings are largely preventable with annual furnace inspections and CO alarm installation.
This study aimed to identify the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that might lead consumers to adopt these protective behaviours.
In August 2009, four focus groups (n=29) were conducted with homeowners in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to identify the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that lead consumers to adopt risk and protective behaviours. Discussions were transcribed and the findings were analysed using an ordered meta-matrix.
Focus group participants were aware of CO poisoning and supported the idea of regular furnace inspections. However, few participants consistently scheduled professional inspections for fear of costly repairs and unscrupulous contractors. Participants often owned CO alarms, but many did not locate them properly, nor maintain them. Some participants confused CO and natural gas and were unsure how to react if a CO alarm sounds. Participants stated that incentives, such as discounts and inspector selection tips, would make them more likely to schedule furnace inspections. Participants also identified trustworthy sources for CO education, including realtors, fire departments, home insurance agents and local media outlets.
Participants’ residential CO risk behaviours are not random but driven by underlying knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Correcting misperceptions, providing incentives and partnering with trustworthy sources might encourage greater consumer adoption of protective behaviours.
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