Research raises concerns over smoke detectors' effectiveness in waking children

June 27, 2013
Research raises concerns over smoke detectors’ effectiveness in waking children

(Medical Xpress)—Standard domestic smoke detectors may not always wake children in the event of a fire, according to research by the University of Strathclyde's Centre for Forensic Science and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service.

The study of 34 -20 girls and 14 boys- aged between two and 13, found that 80% slept through smoke detector alarms. Each child was tested six times and only seven of the children woke during any of the tests.

Only two children woke on every occasion and none of the 14 boys in the research woke at all.

While the findings do not call into question the value of smoke alarms in alerting people to fires, nor their capacity to help save lives, the fact that the children failed so often to wake up on the activation of the alarms does raise concerns.

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, of Strathclyde's Centre for Forensic Science, who led the research said 'While the results of this study remain preliminary given the number of children involved, they do highlight concerns that cannot be ignored about the effectiveness of smoke detectors in waking children".

"Further research is required to build on the findings to date and investigate robust solutions to the issues highlighted."

Dave Coss, East Midlands Regional Fire Investigation Dog Handler and Watch Manager with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, conducted the study as part of his Masters degree taken at the University of Strathclyde.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service reinforces the importance of having a working smoke alarm on every level of the home and that the research finding emphasise the importance of having a pre-planned and practised escape route or plan that everyone in the home, whether a family member or overnight guest, is aware of. This plan must account for waking, alerting and evacuating all children in the home.

The Service also continues to campaign and work towards domestic sprinklers being fitted into all new domestic dwellings and retrofitted into the homes of those most vulnerable to , as and where appropriate.

Explore further: Researchers reveal formula for success in increasing smoke alarm use

Related Stories

Researchers reveal formula for success in increasing smoke alarm use

December 16, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- The most effective strategy to encourage more people to have a working smoke alarm in their homes has been revealed by a team of healthcare researchers.

Heavy drinkers may die needlessly in house fires

September 15, 2011
People who drink heavily may increase their risk of dying in house fires that should otherwise have been escapable, a new study suggests.

Housing quality associated with children's burn injury risk

November 12, 2012
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy finds many children may be at heightened risk for fire and scald burns by virtue of living in substandard housing. Researchers surveyed ...

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.