Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer

National Fire Prevention Week -- October 6-12, 1996

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated October 6-12, 1996, as National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for the week is "Let's Hear it For Fire Safety! Test Your Detectors."

The United States has the highest annual death rate from fires of all developed countries (2.1 per 100,000 persons). This problem disproportionately affects the southeastern states, particularly during December-February, when the number of residential fire-related deaths and injuries is 1.5-3.3 times that of summer months. Widespread use of noncentral home heating sources (e.g., wood-burning stoves and portable space heaters) are major causes because they often are improperly placed and/or left unattended.

A substantial proportion of the injuries and deaths result from poor basic fire-safety practices. A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during January 1995 indicated that most homes in which a fire occurs are not equipped with a functioning smoke detector (1).

NFPA recommends that every home in the United States be equipped with one functioning smoke detector in each bedroom area and on every habitable floor of the residence to protect the home and its residents from fires. In addition, NFPA recommends timing smoke detector battery replacement with the October clock change from daylight savings time to standard time through the "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" slogan.

One of the national health objectives for the year 2000 is to increase the presence of functional smoke detectors to at least one on each habitable floor of all inhabited residential dwellings (objective 9.17) (2). Additional information about residential fires is available from CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, telephone (770) 488-4652.


  1. US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fire incidence study: National Smoke Detector Project. Washington, DC: US Consumer Product Safety Commission, January 1995.

  2. Public Health Service. Healthy people 2000: national health promotion and disease prevention objectives -- full report, with commentary. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1991; DHHS publication no. (PHS)91-50212.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the electronic PDF version and/or the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to

Page converted: 09/19/98


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A


Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 5/2/01