Reducing fire deaths in older adults

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Reducing Fire Deaths in Older Adults: Optimizing the Smoke Alarm Signal Research Project - Investigation of Auditory Arousal with Different Alarm Signals in Sleeping Older Adults" (PDF)
Author: Dorothy Bruck, Ian Thomas, Ada Kritikos, Victoria University
Date of issue: May 2006


Smoke alarm and signaling systems are a proven strategy for reduction of fire fatalities in the general population. However, studies have shown that the elderly do not fully benefit from conventional smoke alarm systems, particularly during the sleeping hours. In April of 2005, the Fire Protection Research Foundation was awarded a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant by the US Fire Administration for a new project to study this topic.

A portion of the study involved the conduct of human behavior studies to investigate the arousal thresholds from sleep in older adults to the current US smoke alarm and compare these thresholds to several alternative signals, and to investigate the performance abilities of older adults when awoken suddenly by an alarm. This report presents the results of this portion of the study.