Objective—To estimate the cost effectiveness of the Lifesavers Residential Fire and Injury Prevention Program (LRFIPP), a smoke alarm giveaway program.
Setting—In 1990, the LRFIPP distributed over 10 000 smoke alarms in an area of Oklahoma City at high risk for residential fire injuries. The program also included fire prevention education and battery replacement components.
Methods—A cost effectiveness analysis was conducted from the societal and health care systems perspectives. The study compared program costs with the total costs of medical treatment and productivity losses averted over a five year period. Fatal and non-fatal residential fire related injuries prevented were estimated from surveillance data. Medical costs were obtained from chart reviews of patients with fire related injuries that occurred during the pre-intervention period.
Results—During the five years post-intervention, it is estimated that the LRFIPP prevented 20 fatal and 24 non-fatal injuries. From the societal perspective, the total discounted cost of the program was $531 000. Total discounted net savings exceeded $15 million. From the health care system perspective, the total discounted net savings were almost $1 million and would have a net saving even if program effectiveness was reduced by 64%.
Conclusions—The program was effective in reducing fatal and non-fatal residential fire related injuries and was cost saving. Similar programs in other high risk areas would be good investments even if program effectiveness was lower than that achieved by the LRFIPP.
- cost effectiveness
- smoke alarms
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