Fire Alarms and People with ASD: A Literature Summary

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Fire Alarms and People with ASD: A Literature Summary" (PDF, 255 KB)
Author: Paul Kashmanian
Date of issue: April 2014

Executive Summary

Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are hypersensitive to sound and light. Fire drills are regular events in many schools and other buildings and fire alarms can adversely affect both physically and mentally those with these sensitivities. The Foundation undertook a literature review on this topic that includes research on the groups that experience sensitivity to sound and light as well as the sound pressure level, frequency, temporal presentation and the light intensity and flashing frequency that triggers this issue. The objective of the literature summary was to provide information to the NFPA 72 Technical Committee to help them understand the impact of fire alarms on those individuals with sound and light sensitivities.