KIDS AND SMOKE ALARMS
"The efficacy of the 520 Hz square wave signal in arousing sleepers has now been
demonstrated in children... (and) the high pitched alarm
has been found to be the least effective..." --
Source: Page 9- Waking effectiveness of alarms (auditory, visual and tactile)
for adults who are hard of hearing.
"Optimizing Fire Alarm
Notification For High Risk Groups" Dorothy Bruck & Ian Thomas
THE FIRE PROTECTION RESEARCH FOUNDATION. ONE BATTERMARCH PARK, QUINCY MA, U.S.A., 02169
showing danger posed to children.
The video is a out of date and does not include the most recent studies which indicate
the primary failure of typical smoke alarm is the high frequency
. A tone of 520 Hertz
shown most effective for waking at-risk populations.
ore and more studies are showing that children (ages 5 to 15) with
do not awaken to the sound of smoke alarms because they sleep so deeply
during their developmental stages. As many as 80% of children may not awaken to smoke
alarms according to several studies (see article below).
The extremely high frequency of typical
smoke alarms is thought to be part of what makes them too easy for children to "ignore" while
published by the NFPA regarding this issue.
"Lower frequency tones also may be more effective at waking children
and those with high
frequency hearing loss (most commonly brought on by aging)." -- National Fire Saftey Corporation
The Loudenlow™ Low Frequency Alarm uses a 6-inch speaker and booms out a low frequency
tone at over 87dB and is very simple to operate. Low frequency has been shown to be
more effective in waking children and adults. The Loudenlow™ uses the
to detect smoke. This method is
better for detecting fast, flaming fires
that spread quickly.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU TEST YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN THAT THEY CAN HEAR THEIR
Below is an article from KMBC TV's web site discussing this phenomenon.
POSTED: 12:48 pm CST February 22, 2005
UPDATED: 3:58 pm CST February 24, 2005
LEAWOOD, Kan. -- Don't be so sure that your smoke alarm will wake your sleeping children if there is a fire.
KMBC's Maria Antonia conducted two drills with the Tulp family recently.
"They know if they hear the alarm in the middle of the night, and they wake up, and there's smoke, to get out of the house," mom Lisa Tulp said.
After a movie and munchies, Sam, 12; Sophie, 8; Will, 4; and Lilah, 2, go to bed. When the lights went out, KMBC's cameras started rolling -- all of it monitored by their parents.
A smoke alarm was set off and safe fog was used in place of smoke.
Antonia reported that firefighters estimate there are seconds, maybe a minute or so to get out. But more than four minutes into the first drill, the children were still sleeping.
"Nobody's getting up," Lisa Tulp said.
After five minutes, she went into the children's rooms to wake everyone up.
"I'm really surprised that none of you guys woke up at all," Lisa Tulp said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission just released a study that, among things, current smoke alarms do not reliably wake up children under the age of 16.
For the second drill, KMBC tried a new, vocal smoke detector. It is designed so kids hear both a parent's recorded voice and beeping. A few nights later, the drill was repeated, again, with their parents watching.
Soon Sophie stirred, but did not get up. After 1 minute 52 seconds into the drill, Will was the first to get up. Sam was the next to get out of bed at 2 minutes 52 seconds. With all the commotion, Sophie woke up at 3 minutes 15 seconds. Tulp carried out her youngest, Lilah, because she never woke up.
According to the new CPSC study, more research is needed to see if alternative cues can reliably wake children, and that includes the human voice.
Antonia shared the results of the fire drills with local firefighters.
"It's a good thing to know if your kids will or will not wake up," said Jerry Brenner, of the Overland Park Fire Department. "Plan to get them yourself, and plan to help them escape."
Firefighters remind homeowners that smoke detectors are tools that are supposed to save your life, but you also need to have a plan that works for your family.
Thanks to Channel 9 and others for bringing this matter to public attention.