Fire departments across the nation work to put out fires and to rescue building occupants. But fire departments and other nonprofit safety organizations also seek to prevent fires from spreading in the first place and to mitigate their impact. One way to accomplish this prevention goal is by educating communities about the importance of smoke alarms and providing and installing smoke alarms in residences. However, some fire departments and nonprofit groups have expressed concerns about the risk of liability associated with smoke alarm installation programs, potentially curtailing these life-saving activities.
This report addresses whether the U.S. holds nonprofit organizations, volunteer organizations, local governments, or fire departments liable for damage that are caused by a fire that occurred after the organization installed smoke alarms.