Performance of Thermal Exposure Sensors in Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) Devices.
Performance of Thermal Exposure Sensors in Personal
Alert Safety System (PASS) Devices.
Bryner, N. P.; Madrzykowski, D.; Stroup, D. W.
NISTIR 7294; 56 p. September 2005.
fire fighters; protective equipment
Fire fighters can be overcome by heat or smoke of a fire
and may be unable to alert other fire ground personnel
to their need for assistance. Personal Alert Safety
System (PASS) devices are designed to signal for aid if
a fire fighter becomes incapacitated. Thermal exposure
sensor technology has already been included in a number
of PASS devices, but no standard exists for testing the
performance of the thermal sensor. A series of static
oven, flow loop, and full-scale experiments were
conducted to demonstrate the performance of different
PASS devices. This limited set of temperature versus
thermal sensor activation data indicates that sensors
respond differently under static, flowing, and radiation
intense conditions. The full-scale data demonstrate that
current thermal sensing/PASS implementations are
unlikely to provide a fire fighter with sufficient
warning of an acute thermal hazard. Current PASS devices
may provide information to fire fighters about their
longer term exposure to thermal conditions, but there is
a significant delay of 25 s to 120 s before the fire
fighter receives this alarm or information. This limited
series of experiments demonstrates the need to develop a
standard testing protocol to insure that all PASS
devices provide adequate protection for fire fighters.
This testing protocol must evaluate the performance of
thermal sensors under a range of fire environments that
fire fighters may realistically encounter on a routine
basis. This experimental data was used to develop a
prototype standard test protocol which can used to
quantify the thermal sensor performance.