Do smoke alarms still function a year after installation? A follow-up of the get-alarmed campaign

J Community Health. 2004 Apr;29(2):171-81. doi: 10.1023/b:johe.0000016720.38681.61.


The Get-Alarmed Campaign Follow-up Study was the second phase of an initiative to assure that homes of families at high risk of fire-related injury and death had functioning smoke alarms. Smoke alarms and/or batteries were installed in over 94 percent of 454 participating households in Schley and Henry Counties, Georgia, in 2000. Before the study began, 60.6 percent of these homes had smoke alarms, but only 36.6 percent had functioning smoke alarms. The follow-up study was designed to determine the experiences of participants with smoke alarms and whether participating households had functioning smoke alarms a year after baseline. Participants were phoned or visited and asked about their experiences with smoke alarms since the baseline study. During the interview, they were asked to test a smoke alarm, the results of which could frequently be heard. Respondents included 237 from Schley County and 113 from Henry County, for an overall 77.1 percent response rate. While 80.3 percent of respondents had a smoke alarm that was heard by the interviewer when it was tested, 6.6 percent reported that their smoke alarm had been disabled or had a dead battery. Over 75 percent of respondents had smoke alarm sound offs in the prior year, predominately due to cooking smoke, but only about 5 percent reported removing the battery or otherwise disabling it to prevent sound offs. However, the measures taken may render a household unprotected at a critical time. Efforts to increase protection with smoke alarms should be augmented with programs to insure adequate and timely testing and maintenance of existing smoke alarms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Electric Power Supplies
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Georgia
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / prevention & control*
  • Urban Population