A cost analysis of a smoke alarm installation and fire safety education program

J Safety Res. 2006;37(4):367-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2006.05.006. Epub 2006 Sep 29.


Introduction: While smoke alarm installation programs can help prevent residential fire injuries, the costs of running these programs are not well understood.

Method: We conducted a retrospective cost analysis of a smoke alarm installation program in 12 funded communities across four states. Costs included financial and economic resources needed for training, canvassing, installing, and following-up, within four cost categories: (a) personnel, (b) transportation, (c) facility, and (d) supplies.

Results: Local cost per completed home visit averaged 214.54 dollars, with an average local cost per alarm installed of 115.02 dollars. Combined state and local cost per alarm installed across all four states averaged 132.15 dollars. For every 1% increase in alarm installation, costs per alarm decrease by 1.32 dollars.

Conclusions: As more smoke alarms are installed, the average installation cost per alarm decreases. By demonstrating effective economies of scale, this study suggests that smoke alarm programs can be implemented efficiently and receive positive economic returns on investment.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / economics*
  • Accidents, Home / economics
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Fires / economics
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Health Education / economics*
  • Humans
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Protective Devices / economics
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Management
  • Safety / economics*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Training Support
  • United States


  • Smoke