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Detection Times to Fire-Related Stimuli by Sleeping Subjects.


pdf icon Detection Times to Fire-Related Stimuli by Sleeping Subjects. (41449 K)
Kahn, M. J.

NBS GCR 83-435; 97 p. June 1983.

Sponsor:

National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB83-227116

Keywords:

auditory perception; fire alarm systems; fire detection; human behavior; human performance; odor descrimination; residential buildings; smoke; smoke detectors

Abstract:

A laboratory study was conducted to determine human waking and response times to fire-related stimuli. Twenty-four college-age male subjects were tested with each subject being run for one night. Twelve subjects were exposed to smoke alarm warning signals of three intensities while a second set of twelve subjects was exposed to a smoke odor, a heat presentation, and one smoke alarm warning signal. Subjects were, without fail, awakened by alarms that reached their ears at a signal/noise ratio of 34dB. They were considerably less effective in waking to the heat, the smoke odor, and alarms that reached their ears at a signal/noise ratio of 10dB or less. Failure to detect these latter stimuli may have resulted from a lack of familiarization with the specific fire-related cues used in this research. Had training in detection of these cues been conducted, subjects might have been more responsive. Using similar logic an argument can be made that standardization of signals used for household smoke detectors would be beneficial.