Fire Alarms and At Risk Populations

Research Foundation banner

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 recently completed an initial literature review on the impact of fire alarm notification signals on individuals with sound and light sensitivities. The focus was on individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, very limited information could be found on this topic in the literature, specifically on the quantification of sound and light that triggers problems. The NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code, Technical Committees need more information on this issue in order to develop guidance on how to address. The objective of this research is to gain a better understanding of how fire alarm notification signals impact at risk populations with sound and light sensitivities. This information would be provided to the NFPA 72 Technical Committees and may serve as the technical basis for guidance in the Code.

Download the project summary. (PDF, 70 KB)