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BMJ. 2002 Nov 2;325(7371):998-1001.

Prevalence of working smoke alarms in local authority inner city housing: randomised controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Public Health Intervention Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1B 3DP.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To identify which type of smoke alarm is most likely to remain working in local authority inner city housing, and to identify an alarm tolerated in households with smokers.

DESIGN:

Randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

Two local authority housing estates in inner London.

PARTICIPANTS:

2145 households.

INTERVENTION:

Installation of one of five types of smoke alarm (ionisation sensor with a zinc battery; ionisation sensor with a zinc battery and pause button; ionisation sensor with a lithium battery and pause button; optical sensor with a lithium battery; or optical sensor with a zinc battery).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Percentage of homes with any working alarm and percentage in which the alarm installed for this study was working after 15 months.

RESULTS:

54.4% (1166/2145) of all households and 45.9% (465/1012) of households occupied by smokers had a working smoke alarm. Ionisation sensor, lithium battery, and there being a smoker in the household were independently associated with whether an alarm was working (adjusted odds ratios 2.24 (95% confidence interval 1.75 to 2.87), 2.20 (1.77 to 2.75), and 0.62 (0.52 to 0.74)). The most common reasons for non-function were missing battery (19%), missing alarm (17%), and battery disconnected (4%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Nearly half of the alarms installed were not working when tested 15 months later. Type of alarm and power source are important determinants of whether a household had a working alarm.

PMID:
12411356
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC131024
Free PMC Article
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