Death from fires and burns are the third leading cause of fatal home injury in the United States. Smoke alarms can reduce the risk of death from residential fire by about 50 percent and reduce the risk of nonfatal injury by about 30 percent. While 96 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm, only about three quarters of these have a functional smoke alarm. Early efforts to increase the proportion of homes with a functional smoke alarm often took the form of free smoke alarm giveaway. Since 1998, CDC has funded State health departments to directly install smoke alarms and offer fire safety education to high-risk communities. This new strategy is more effective but also more costly. The project reviewed the burden of injuries from residential fires, explained basic smoke alarm program implementation, and discussed the relative costs and benefits of each of the two strategies.
Both giveaway and installation programs have an average cost-effectiveness ratio similar to or lower than the median cost-effectiveness ratio reported for other interventions to reduce fatal injuries in homes. Although more effort is required, installation programs result in lower cost per outcome achieved compared with giveaways.
Report Title: Economic Evaluation of Residential Smoke Alarm Giveaway and Installation Programs, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379712004564
Agency Sponsor: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Contact: Thomas Chapel, 404-639-2116
Performer: Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
Record ID: 9599 (September 1, 2012)