Background: More needs to be known about the prevalence of risk and protective factors for fires, burns, and carbon monoxide poisoning in U.S. households.
Methods: A random-digit-dial survey was conducted about home safety with 1003 respondents representing households in the continental United States. Descriptive statistics assess the prevalence of risk and protective factors for fires, burns, and carbon monoxide overall, and by demographic characteristics, household structure, region, and residential tenure. The data were weighted to adjust for nonresponse and to reflect the U.S. population.
Results: Although most respondents reported having a smoke alarm (97%), and 80% reported having one on each level of their home, <20% reported checking the alarm at least every 3 months. Seventy-one percent reported having a fire extinguisher, 29% had a carbon monoxide detector, and 51% of those living with at least one other person had a fire escape plan. Few could report the temperature of their hot water at the tap (9%), or the setting on the hot water heater (25%). Only 6% had an antiscald device.
Conclusions: Results suggest that there is much room for improvement regarding adoption of measures to prevent fires, burns, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Further investigations of the efficacy of carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and escape plans, as well as effectiveness studies of fire and burn-prevention efforts are needed.