Disparities in the prevalence of smoke alarms in U.S. households: Conclusions drawn from published case studies

J Safety Res. 2011 Oct;42(5):409-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2011.10.001. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Introduction: Deaths from fires and burns are a leading cause of fatal home injury in the United States. Smoke alarms are one of the most effective interventions to prevent residential fire deaths. Nationwide, more than 95% of homes are estimated to have at least one smoke alarm. There is evidence that homes at highest risk of fire deaths lag behind national averages in smoke alarm use and maintenance.

Method: We compiled a comprehensive list of published studies that focus on smoke alarm prevalence in high-risk homes. Our findings show that there are substantial gaps in both smoke alarm presence and functional status between high-risk homes and national average estimates.

Conclusions: To save more lives, improved efforts are needed to reduce the disparity in smoke alarm prevalence and functional use in the United States.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / prevention & control*
  • Fires*
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoke Inhalation Injury / prevention & control*
  • United States / epidemiology