Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoke alarms + sprinklers + closed doors = lives saved in dorm fires

Date:
April 2, 2010
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Experimenting on a university dormitory that was scheduled to be torn down, fire researchers have demonstrated that the correct combination of automatic fire sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and closed doors provided enough time and safe conditions for residents to escape safely and for fire fighters to perform their job without undue hazard.

These post-fire photographs of the dorm rooms show the difference a sprinkler makes. There is little visible damage the in the top photo that had a sprinkler in the room; there was no sprinkler in the dorm room in the lower picture.
Credit: NIST

Experimenting on a university dormitory that was scheduled to be torn down, fire researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated that the correct combination of automatic fire sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and closed doors provided enough time and safe conditions for residents to escape safely and for firefighters to perform their job without undue hazard.

The study's goal was to compare the hazard levels created by room fires in dormitory buildings with and without sprinklers in the room where the fire starts. Researchers used a dorm at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., that was scheduled to be replaced with a high-rise building.

Fires create many potentially fatal hazards, including high heat, loss of visibility and -- what can be the most critical risk -- toxic gases. In addition to monitoring thermal conditions and visibility, researchers also measured the oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels to determine the tenability, that is, survival conditions, on the fire floor.

The five rooms used in the experiment were furnished as typical dorms are and included clothing, books and furniture. Smoke alarms were installed in the rooms and the corridors. The smoke alarms activated within 30 seconds of ignition of a trash container in a dorm room.

Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted with the dorm room door and windows closed and in both the experiments the corridor remained tenable, which would allow other students to exit safely past the room. Rooms for experiments 2 and 3 had automatic fire sprinklers installed. The automatic fire sprinklers activated within two minutes after ignition in both experiments. In the sprinklered experiments, tenability was maintained in the dorm room and the corridor.

Experiments 4 and 5 were conducted with the door of the dorm room open and no active sprinkler. In both experiments the tenability limits were exceeded in the dorm room and corridor.

"This study demonstrated the value of balanced fire safety design," says NIST Fire Protection Engineer Dan Madrzykowski. "The results show the potential life safety benefits of smoke alarms, compartmentation and automatic fire sprinkler systems in college dormitories and similar occupancies."

The experiments also demonstrated the importance of a closed door between the fire room and corridor in limiting the spread of smoke and gasses to other areas of the building.

The studied was performed as part of the U.S. Fire Administration's initiative to improve fire safety in college housing and in collaboration with the University of Arkansas and the Fayetteville Fire Department.

Another series of experiment was conducted with fires starting in a day room area open to the dormitory corridor. The results of the two studies were published in "Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Sleeping Room Fire Experiments" (NIST Technical Note 1658, available at www.nist.gov/cgi-bin//get_pdf.cgi?pub_id=904640) and "Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire hazard in Dormitories: Day Room Fire Experiments" (NISTIR 7120, available at www.nist.gov/cgi-bin//get_pdf.cgi?pub_id=101409.)

More information on the U.S. Fire Administration's College campus Fire Safety Program can be found at www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/college/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Smoke alarms + sprinklers + closed doors = lives saved in dorm fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401130342.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2010, April 2). Smoke alarms + sprinklers + closed doors = lives saved in dorm fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401130342.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Smoke alarms + sprinklers + closed doors = lives saved in dorm fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401130342.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins