Fire Readiness (for) Wheelchair Users (FEW)

The DPQOL is working to develop a fire safety and emergency preparedness education program for individuals living with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) who use wheelchairs and/or scooters full time. Previous research indicates that only 60% of individuals living with SCI have a plan for emergency evacuation, and that individuals with mobility disabilities disproportionately die in residential fires. This study is sponsored by the Craig H. Neilson Foundation, and is being performed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All testing for this study will be completely online using video conferencing software (e.g., Zoom).

Phase I of the study has already been completed. We are using input from focus groups with wheelchair and scooter users living with SCI and MS along with firefighters to develop a hybrid online education program focused on residential fire safety preparedness, called Fire Evacuation (in) Wheelchair and Scooter Users, or FEW. The FEW program will have both synchronous and asynchronous components utilizing a variety of active learning techniques. The Asynchronous component will involve reviewing pre-recorded education material online, setting goals, journaling, and using action planning techniques. The Synchronous component involves groups of 3-5 participants meeting virtually with a firefighter to discuss the pre-recorded materials. Participants will also review their goals and journal entries with the fire fighter in order to receive individualized feedback.

In Phase II, our team aims to test the feasibility and efficacy of implementing FEW in a home setting, and evaluate whether FEW improves the quality of evacuation plans, improves communication between individuals living with SCI and fire fighters, increases confidence in the ability to safety evacuate a residence in the event of a fire, and reduces anxiety and stress about residential fire events. Participants will participate in the FEW program, providing feedback on the education content, the group discussion, and suggestions for improvements. We have conducted the Phase II with a couple groups of people and received high satisfaction on their feedback

Interested? To participate in this study, you must:

Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury
• Be ≥18 years old
• Self-report a diagnosis of spinal cord injury or disease
• Use a wheelchair or scooter for at least 75% of mobility
• Have access to an internet capable device (smart phone tablet, computer)
• Have access to the internet
• Be able and willing to use Zoom video-conferencing software

If you are interested, please contact DPQoL Lab at or call (217)-333- 4560.