Detection Times to Fire-Related Stimuli by Sleeping Subjects.
Detection Times to Fire-Related Stimuli by Sleeping
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
auditory perception; fire alarm systems; fire detection;
human behavior; human performance; odor descrimination;
residential buildings; smoke; smoke detectors
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