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BMJ. 2002 Nov 2;325(7371):995.

Incidence of fires and related injuries after giving out free smoke alarms: cluster randomised controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Campus Box B-119, Denver, CO 80262, USA. Carolyn.DiGuiseppi@uchsc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To measure the effect of giving out free smoke alarms on rates of fires and rates of fire related injury in a deprived multiethnic urban population.

DESIGN:

Cluster randomised controlled trial.

SETTING:

Forty electoral wards in two boroughs of inner London, United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS:

Primarily households including elderly people or children and households that are in housing rented from the borough council.

INTERVENTION:

20 050 smoke alarms, fittings, and educational brochures distributed free and installed on request.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Rates of fires and related injuries during two years after the distribution; alarm ownership, installation, and function.

RESULTS:

Giving out free smoke alarms did not reduce injuries related to fire (rate ratio 1.3; 95% confidence interval 0.9 to 1.9), admissions to hospital and deaths (1.3; 0.7 to 2.3), or fires attended by the fire brigade (1.1; 0.96 to 1.3). Similar proportions of intervention and control households had installed alarms (36/119 (30%) v 35/109 (32%); odds ratio 0.9; 95% confidence interval 0.5 to 1.7) and working alarms (19/118 (16%) v 18/108 (17%); 0.9; 0.4 to 1.8).

CONCLUSIONS:

Giving out free smoke alarms in a deprived, multiethnic, urban community did not reduce injuries related to fire, mostly because few alarms had been installed or were maintained.

PMID:
12411355
PMCID:
PMC131023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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