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Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires

Report: NFPA's "Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: February 2021


Report highlights

  • Smoke alarms were present in three-quarters (74 percent) of reported home fires in 2014–2018.
  • Almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).
  • The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.
  • When present, hardwired smoke alarms operated in 94 percent of the fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms operated 82 percent of the time. Power source issues were the most common factors when smoke alarms failed to operate.


Reported home structure and fire deaths by smoke alarm performance

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