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Residential Fire Injury Prevention Program
In 1989, data from the Injury Prevention Burn Surveillance System indicated that south Oklahoma City had the highest rate of house fire-related injuries in the state of Oklahoma. Injuries were plotted on an Oklahoma City map; 45 percent of the injuries occurred in a four-zip code area in south Oklahoma City where only 16 percent of the population lived. Consequently, the area was targeted for a smoke alarm giveaway program.
The Injury Prevention Service implemented the program in 1990 in collaboration with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and City-County Health Department of Oklahoma County. More than 500 volunteers from numerous state and local agencies, businesses, civic organizations, churches, and schools helped distribute more than 10,000 smoke alarms in the targeted area. Through the program, approximately 80 percent of the estimated homes in the area without a smoke alarm received one.
Four years following the program, the injury rate per 100 residential fires decreased 73 percent in the target area compared to a 31 percent increase in the injury rate in the rest of Oklahoma City. It is calculated that more than 60 injuries and deaths were prevented in this area during the 5 years after the program was implemented. Cost-benefit analysis suggests that for every $1 spent on this program over $20 was saved in prevented costs associated with injury reduction.
Using the south Oklahoma City project as a basis, the Injury Prevention Service implemented similar projects in other communities with high rates of residential fire injuries. Since 1994, nearly 60,000 smoke alarms were distributed in more than 50 communities.
Beginning in 2006, the Injury Prevention Service received additional federal funding to continue this program for another five years.
Smoke Alarm Programs Save Lives
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