Smoke Alarm Safety

Almost all households in the U.S. have at least one smoke alarm, yet in 2005 through 2009, smoke alarms were present in less than three-quarters (72%) of all reported home fires and operated in half (51%) of the reported home fires. More than one-third (38%) of all home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, while one-quarter (24%) resulted from fires in homes in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate. Fifty percent did not work due to missing or disconnected batteries and another 23% did not work because the batteries were dead, have you tested your detectors lately?

Death Rate

The death rate per 100 reported fires was twice as high in homes without a working smoke alarm as it was in home fires with this protection. Hardwired smoke alarms are more reliable than those powered solely by batteries.


These estimates are based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration's (USFAs) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPAs) annual fire department experience survey.