NFPA Journal®, July/August 2005
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I am writing in response to the article on directional exit sound in the May/June 2005 NFPA Journal.
In May 2001, I attended the NFPA World Fire Safety Conference and Exposition® in
Based on my 34 years in the fire service, with 11 of those years in fire prevention, I found the potential benefits from directional sound to be a major improvement in safety for specific applications. When buildings are large, exit routes are complex, or occupants are not familiar with the building, this can make a real difference.
I was particularly impressed with applications in cruise ships, where exit locations and travel routes are not intuitive.
Two days before reading this article, I watched the story of the Norwegian Star ferry fire on the National Geographic Channel and I thought that having directional sound for exiting could have made a difference for some victims. The application for aircraft evacuation is also impressive.
When stories of large-life loss fire are reported, I always consider whether directional sound could have helped more people escape. As I read the article “A City Within a City” in the same issue, it struck me that directional exit sounds are perfectly applicable. Anyone who has visited large casinos will know that it is easy to get in but the way out is not always obvious.
Even though suppression systems may control the fire, often the building still needs to be evacuated. The confidence of moving toward an exit prevents panic.
My hope in writing this is to attest to my experience in the hope that others in the fire service see the potential for directional exit sound and support its development as a standard for life safety.
Dean K. Redman
Chief of Department
We agree that it would seem like a perfect fit for the technology, however, as the author Daniel J. O’Connor points out “However, directional sound may not be of great use in all occupancy types. For example, hospitals may not benefit significantly from directional sound because hospital evacuation training relies on the staff to implement protect-in-place or relocation procedures before evacuating patients. In addition, required fire drills typically keep hospital staff well acquainted with the locations of exits and refuge areas.”
Significant part of the problem
A recent NFPA Journal “In a Flash!” news item, (“Cooking Fires are a Continuous Problem,” March/April 2005), cited two studies, which confirms the fact that cooking fires are indeed a significant part of the overall fire problem in the
As a fire marshal in a medium-sized city in Michigan, I urge other fire prevention professionals across the country and NFPA to support rigorous standard and model code changes that would require Type I hoods, ductwork, and an approved, wet-chemical kitchen fire suppression system be installed in all newly constructed residential occupancies in the United States.
If we in the fire prevention community are finding it difficult to modify the behavior of our citizen cooking population, then it's time to mandate changes that will significantly reduce the injuries and property damage associated with cooking fires in the residential arena. No longer should kitchen fire safety be something that's “not on the menu.”
Here’s some additional information. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Most cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of common household items (e.g., food or grease, cabinets, wall coverings, paper or plastic bags, curtains, etc.).
In 2001, there were 117,100 reported home structure fires associated with cooking equipment, resulting in 370 deaths, 4,290 injuries and $453 million in direct property damage.
For more information on NFPA’s Home Cooking Fire Patterns and Trends, January 2005, go to NFPA's fact sheet on cooking fires.
In this Section:
Importance of testing and maintaining
Fire damages school
Saving firefighters’ lives
Installing sprinkler systems on campus
Codes include referenced publications
NFPA 150: Metamorphosis
Letters to the editor
Solving the car seat adjustment puzzle
NFPA 1561 provides IMS guidance