The easiest answer lies with our minds. Dobelli (2013) calls it the “regression to mean delusion” often called in statistics as “Statistical Regression on to mean”or SRTM. Babor (2008) points out that Regression on mean occurs in the following conditions:
- You have a relatively SMALL sample size
- Conclusions were derived from such sample
How the f*** is that related to fire incidents?
Bear with me for a while. March is fire prevention month, so how come there is a perceived increase of fire incidents on fire prevention month. As we apply SRTM, March will be the regression period for fire occurrences, note that there are many factors to contribute to a fire. For these outside or intervening factors the incidents of fire will return to its average or mean.
In Layman’s term?
It means that our minds are tickled fancy by the sheer irony of increased fire incidents when in reality more Fire incidents occur on April. De Costo and Gumela (2014) points to the statistics, the study was Philippine environment:
Based on statistics from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), there were more fire incidents in April than in March from 2010 to 2013. A total of 5,355 blazes occurred in April, while 4,561 fires happened in March during the period 2010-2013. On the average, April registered the highest number of fire incidents per year at 1,339 followed by March with 1,140. Taking into consideration the significant change over time of April fire occurrence in the country, does it then warrant a closer examination of the Fire Prevention Month observance in March – See more at: http://www.nscb.gov.ph/sexystats/2014/SS20140509_fire.asp#sthash.0rhEpXSQ.dpuf
Yet this does not stop Firemen from raising awareness that fires that human negligence contributes to burning of homes.
BABOR, T. F. (2008), Regression to the mean: elephant in the living room or the
delusions of a Swedish student ‘out bicycling’?. Addiction, 103: 4–5.
Dobelli, R. (2012). Kunst Des Klaren Denkens. [The art of thinking clearly].
N. Griffin Trans.) Germany: Hanser.
De Costo, S.B. & Gumela. Should fire prevention month be moved to April?.
Retrieved from http://www.nscb.gov.ph/sexystats/2014/SS20140509_fire.asp#sthash.0rhEpXSQ.dpuf