Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Joan M. Mazur


Rural Kentucky residents suffer twice as many fire residential deaths than the national average. Fire prevention programs are primarily aimed at elementary school children however these children do not make the decisions nor take the precautions necessary to alter these conditions; their adult parents do. There is little research into the development of fire safety instructional interventions that need to reach these rural at-risk adults. In this study, a well-designed story simulation Uncle Charlie’s Christmas was developed to provide an instructional intervention to prevent injury and fatality from rural residential fires.
An intervention-control repeated measure research design was conducted to investigate participants’: (1) exposure to fire hazard risk, (2) the knowledge of risks and (3) safe practices in the event of a fire and also (4) participants’ behavioral intentions to make changes to prevent fire through hazard reduction and to understand decision making in the event of a fire.
The Uncle Charlie’s Christmas narrative simulation instructional materials were effective at engaging participants in decision- making situations they might encounter in an actual fire emergency situation. Participants’ responses to the simulation demonstrated knowledge of hazards, however, a sub-group of responses did reveal many ‘bad’ decisions (resulting in failure to exit or other unsafe practices) during the use of the simulation. The Thinking Talking and Acting (TTAS) proxy measure of behavioral intention had high internal reliability at a .93 Chronbach Alpha, demonstrating the utility of the measure for future research. A limitation was a low participation rate (n=52), requiring Wilcoxon non-parametric analyses. There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups on the pre-post TTAS behavioral change proxy measure. There were significant pre-post (2 week) differences within the intervention group when the Thinking, Talking and Acting scales scores were analyzed. These trends suggest that further research with a robust sample size is needed for a generalizable assessment of the effectiveness of the narrative simulation instructional materials. Low literacy levels of participants suggest alternative audio formats may also improve utility of the instructional approach in real-world community settings to reach those at risk of exposure to rural residential fire hazards.