First-of-Its-Kind Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Survey Underway

The purpose of the survey is to gather information on perceptions, usage and functionality of smoke and CO detectors in homes within the United States.

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has initiated a benchmark survey of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm usage in consumers’ homes across the United States.

The survey began in New Bern and Charlotte, N.C., and will be conducted in 46 cities across 23 states on behalf of CPSC by EurekaFacts, a full-service market and social research firm, according to an announcement.

The survey launched in fall 2018 and will continue through the summer 2019 in 24 randomly selected metropolitan areas across the country.

Members of the public who have been contacted about taking part in the survey are urged to participate whether they have a smoke or CO alarm or not. Read the CSPC alarm study FAQs for consumers.

“The CPSC is pleased to be spearheading this lifesaving effort that will give us a snapshot of consumer use, functionality and perception of smoke and CO alarms,” says CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle. “We encourage all who have the opportunity to participate in the study to do so. You are helping save lives.”

The study will look at the number of smoke alarms in homes. A major CPSC study conducted 25 years ago showed that 27% of U.S. households did not have a working smoke alarm. The new study is the first to determine the prevalence of CO alarms in American homes, the announcement states.

CPSC will send two-member survey teams to visit homes, interview the head of the household about alarm safety, and test smoke and CO alarms to ensure they are in working order.

Survey teams will include a representative conducting the study on behalf of CPSC and a representative from each city’s local fire department. Free batteries and smoke and CO alarms will be provided to any homes that do not have alarms or that have non-working alarms.

Homeowners without smoke or CO alarms will be asked to participate in the survey by phone. All participants will receive gift cards as an incentive for completing the study, the announcement states.

The study is a major cooperative initiative sponsored by (CPSC), the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

The study is anticipated that all stakeholders will benefit from the information gathered during the survey and that it will be incorporated into codes, standards, and safety messaging related to fires and CO poisoning.

Fast Facts About Carbon Monoxide & Fire-Related Deaths and Injuries:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 400 Americans die every year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, including poisoning from portable generators and home heating systems.
  • According to CPSC’s injury surveillance research, in 2015, there were approximately 370,900 residential fires in the United States that resulted in 2,230 deaths and 10,800 injuries.
  • Research conducted by the NFPA from 2009 to 2013, estimates that three out of five fire deaths occurred in a home without working smoke alarms.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
  • CPSC recommends that smoke alarms and CO alarms be placed on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas. In addition, smoke alarms should be placed inside bedrooms. This greatly reduces fire and CO deaths and injuries.

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