The importance of working smoke alarms
- Fire deaths have been cut in half since smoke alarms were introduced in the late 1970s.
- An estimated 95 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm.
- Two-thirds of reported residential fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Fire deaths in homes with working smoke alarms are 51 percent less than the death rate for homes without this protection.
- An estimated 20 percent of U.S. homes do not have working smoke alarms, primarily because of missing or dead batteries.
- Nuisance activations are the leading cause of disabled smoke alarms. In other words, “nuisance activations” occur when a smoke alarm detects steam from a shower or stove, thus falsely alerting residents of a fire. When this happens, most people take out the batteries, or disable the alarm.
- Tip: If your alarm sounds when it detects steam from a shower or food burning on the stove, consider moving it into an area adjacent to the bathroom or kitchen to prevent nuisance activations.
- Almost 900 lives could be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms.