Arousal from Sleep by Emergency Alarms: Implications from the Scientific Literature. Final Report.
Arousal from Sleep by Emergency Alarms: Implications
from the Scientific Literature. Final Report.
Pezoldt, V. J.; Van Cott, H. P.
NBSIR 78-1484; 37 p. June 1978.
Sponsor:Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington,
Available from: National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB-284044
alarm responses; fire alarms; sleep; warning systems;
systems engineering; safety devices; human behavior
A review of the sleep research and other scientific
literature pertaining to the arousal of sleeping
individuals by external stimuli is reported. This
effort was undertaken to provide information about the
characteristics of emergency alarms which will reliably
awaken a sleeping population, especially nursing home
residents, in the event of fire. The literature
reviewed does not provide an adequate basis for
specifying signal characteristics which will offer a
high assurance of producing arousal. Among the factors
that influence the intensity of a signal which will
produce arousal are the age and physical/mental
condition of the sleeper, drug use, sleep stage, time of
night, and meaningfulness or personal significance of
the signal. Data relevant to these variables are
discussed as is the problem of performance following
abrupt arousal. Recommendations regarding stimulus
characteristics, measures of arousal and the
experimental environment for future studies of arousal
by emergency alarms are presented.