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Six-month follow-up of lithium-battery smoke alarms and self-reported reasons for disabling
  1. Elise Omaki,
  2. Wendy C Shields,
  3. Shannon Frattaroli,
  4. Eileen McDonald,
  5. Vanya Jones,
  6. Andrea Gielen
  1. Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Elise Omaki, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Room 527A, Baltimore MD 21205, USA; eperry{at}jhu.edu

Abstract

Although smoke alarms with lithium batteries are often marketed as ‘10-year alarms’, on average, these alarms do not remain functional for 10 years. This paper describes self-reported reasons for non-working lithium-battery alarms 6–9 months following a smoke alarm installation programme. Data presented are for a cohort of 754 homes that participated in the installation programme and subsequently completed follow-up. A total of 1487 smoke alarms were installed. At follow-up, 126 alarms (8%) were missing and 37 (3%) were observed to be non-working. Of the non-working alarms, residents reported that they had been disabled 57% of the time. Reasons for disabling the alarms most often included that the battery was chirping (38%) or that it sounded while someone was cooking (24%). Smoke alarm installation programmes using lithium-battery alarms should consider highlighting education about smoke alarm maintenance, the hush feature and resources to replace alarms that malfunction soon after installation.

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