Smoke alarm ownership and installation: a comparison of a rural and a suburban community in Georgia

J Community Health. 2001 Oct;26(5):307-29. doi: 10.1023/a:1010478116532.


As part of a smoke alarm giveaway and installation program (The Get-Alarmed Campaign), a total of 454 households were surveyed in two counties in Georgia, one metropolitan and one nonmetropolitan. The targeted communities in these counties had a high prevalence of low-income and minority populations and thus were at high risk of house fire-related morbidity and mortality. The objectives of the program were to determine the prevalence of and predictors for installed, functioning smoke alarms, and to install at least one smoke alarm and/or smoke alarm batteries in 100% of participating homes in need. Characteristics associated with smoke alarm ownership included home ownership, having a higher income, and having a central heating source, factors which should be considered in targeting future intervention strategies. At onset, 159/454 households (35.0%) had no smoke alarms installed and 56/275 households with existing smoke alarms (20.4%) had none that were functional. Regardless of ownership status, a free smoke alarm was installed in the household of 93.8% of participants and new batteries were installed in existing smoke alarms for 31.7% of participants. This project illustrates the usefulness of a door-to-door campaign in increasing smoke alarm ownership in both a rural and a suburban community with a high concentration of residents at high risk of house fire-related morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Smoke / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Smoke