Evaluation of the Responsiveness of Occupants to Fire Alarms in Buildings: Phase 1

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The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Detection and Alarm Research Council research planning meeting 2016, indicated that people not responding to alarms in buildings was highlighted as a high priority topic which need to be studied. Research is needed to answer the following questions:

  • Why don’t people respond to alarms? Is the signal recognizable?
  • How do different types of voice alerts/warnings compare (live voice vs pre‐recorded vs no voice)?
  • How do we best leverage mobile technology?
  • Are we using the proper stimulus to notify occupants in the event of an emergency in a building?
This would be a long term project to evaluate the effectiveness of current means of notification and to develop guidance on how to best provide notification in the event of an emergency to building occupants.

Research goal: The overall goal of this project is to develop a guidance for best practices on emergency notification of occupants in buildings. This initial Phase 1 effort will focus on gathering information from the available materials on the effectiveness of fire alarm signals, voice alarms and mobile technology on notifying the building occupants in the event of an emergency and develop a research plan in support of achieving the overall goal.

Download the project summary. (PDF)