Fast Facts About Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.

Smoke Alarms Save LivesEditor's Note: The following statistics and survey results are all interesting, but what is really compelling is the fact that almost 1/4 of all fire deaths occur because a smoke alarm has been disabled either by a dead battery or by a person who has disconnected it because  he or she was annoyed by "nuisance alarms"! Note the NFPA these for Fire Prevention Week 2010: This is a sound you can live with!

Most homes (96%) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)

Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.

Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.

In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

- No smoke alarms were present in 40% of the home fire deaths.

- In 23% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.

In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.

More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.

Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS), 67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.

In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.
Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.

- In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire. (This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.)

Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week Web site,
© National Fire Protection Association 2010