150406 They're either prepared or they're not! Prevalence and risk factors for the presence of carbon monoxide alarms in Maine households

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 2:50 PM

Judith M. Graber, MS , Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine CDC / Broad-wing Consulting, Batavia, IL
Prashant Mittal, MS, MSc , Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
Andrew E. Smith, ScD , Maine CDC-Environmental and Occupational Health Program, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Augusta, ME
Introduction: The proper use of CO alarms can dramatically reduce morbidity and mortality from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. However, little is published about either the prevalence or predictors for not having CO alarms in US households. Methods: In 2004, the Maine Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey included 3 questions about CO alarms in households. We estimated the household prevalence of CO alarms and assessed personal, household and emergency preparedness factors associated with the absence of an alarm using bivariate analysis (Rao-Scott Chi-square tests, 95% confidence intervals and odds ratios). For logistic regression we accommodated both personal and household-level factors by constructing combined variables such as marital status and household number of children. Results: There were 3,304 respondents; 64.7% (95% CI: 63.0-66.4) of Maine households had no CO alarm. Characteristics statistically significantly associated with no household alarm included: Household: > 1 child in the household (69.2% vs. 54.9%), Female head of household with household income <$0,000 compared > 1 adult with household income > $50,000 (72.6% vs. <66.4%); Personal: Hispanic ethnicity (80% vs. 64.4% ); Age > 65 years (72.0% vs. 62.5%), Having a high school education or less (67.9% vs. 62.3%); Emergency preparedness: Not owning a generator (67.1% vs. 56.0%), Having none vs. all of a 3-day food and water supply and battery-powered radio (80.4% vs. 58.2%). Conclusion: The prevalence of CO alarms is strikingly low -- widespread education, prevention and distribution programs should be initiated with an emphasis on the vulnerable populations identified as most at risk.

Learning Objectives:
1. To understand the prevalence of CO detectors in households and the distribution by characteristics of the person and household 2. To understand the relationship between having a CO detector in the household and other measures of public health preparedness 3. To understand the decision to analyze risk factors using either individual or household weights for developing population prevalence estimates

Keywords: Healthy Buildings, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.