Prevalence of residential smoke alarms and fire escape plans in the U.S.: results from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey (ICARIS-2)

Public Health Rep. 2007 Mar-Apr;122(2):224-31. doi: 10.1177/003335490712200212.


Objectives: This study was conducted to estimate (1) the proportion of U.S. homes with installed smoke alarms and fire escape plans, and (2) the frequency of testing home smoke alarms and of practicing the fire escape plans.

Methods: The authors analyzed data on smoke alarms and fire escape plans from a national cross-sectional random-digit dialed telephone survey of 9,684 households.

Results: Ninety-five percent of surveyed households reported at least one installed smoke alarm and 52% had a fire escape plan. The prevalence of alarms varied by educational level, income, and the presence of a child in the home. Only 15% tested their alarms once a month and only 16% of homes with an escape plan reported practicing it every six months.

Conclusion: While smoke alarm prevalence in U.S. homes is high, only half of homes have a fire escape plan. Additional emphasis is needed on testing of installed smoke alarms and on preparedness for fire escape plans.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Family Characteristics
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Fires / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Protective Devices / standards
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Safety*
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / prevention & control*
  • United States