Performance of Home Smoke Alarms Analysis of the Response of Several Available Technologies in Residential Fire Settings.
Performance of Home Smoke Alarms Analysis of the
Response of Several Available Technologies in
Residential Fire Settings.
Bukowski, R. W.; Peacock, R. D.; Averill, J. D.; Cleary,
T. G.; Bryner, N. P.; Walton, W. D.; Reneke, P. A.;
Kuligowski, E. D.
NIST TN 1455-1; NIST Technical Note 1455-1; 396 p.
smoke detectors; residential buildings; detector
sensitivity; fire tests; heat alarms; ionization alarms;
photoelectric alarms; building fires; ionization
detectors; photoelectric detectors; fire alarm systems;
detector response; temperature; smoke; gas
concentrations; scenarios; occupants; residential
This report presents the results of the project and
provides details of the response of a range of
residential smoke alarm technologies in a controlled
laboratory test and in a series of real-scale
tests conducted in two different residential structures.
The data developed in this study include
measurement of temperature and smoke obscuration in
addition to gas concentrations for a range
of fire scenarios and residences. The results are
intended to provide both insight into siting and
response characteristics of residential smoke alarms and
a set of reference data for future
enhancements to alarm technology based on fires from
current materials and constructions.
Smoke alarms of either the ionization type or the
photoelectric type consistently provide time for
occupants to escape from most residential fires,
although in some cases the escape time provided
can be short. Consistent with prior findings, ionization
type alarms provide somewhat better
response to flaming fires than photoelectric alarms, and
photoelectric alarms provide (often)
considerably faster response to smoldering fires than
ionization type alarms.
Escape times in this study were systematically shorter
than those found in a similar study
conducted in the 1970's. This is related to some
combination of faster fire development times
for today's products that provide the main fuel sources
for fires, such as upholstered furniture
and mattresses, different criteria for time to untenable
conditions, and improved understanding
of the speed and range of threats to tenability.