A Smoke Alarm that Effectively Awakens Children from Sleep and Prompts Escape

Period of Performance: 09/10/2015 - 09/09/2016

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Innovations in Safety, LLC
Columbus, OH 43230
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Being asleep at the time of a residential fire is an important risk factor for fire-related death. Children 5-12 years of age are extraordinarily unlikey to be awakened by a traditional high frequency tone residential alarm. There has been great emphasis on development of smoke alarm technologies for detection of different types of fires, but comparatively little scientific study on how to best alert sleeping occupants, especially children, of the presence of a fire once it is detected. Findings from our preliminary research suggest that an effective and low- cost alarm for children 5-12 years of age is achievable. Our long-term goal is to prevent fire-related morbidity and mortality, especially among children. The objective of this study is to test a smoke alarm that effectively awakens children from sleep and prompts their escape. We will achieve the objective of our study by addressing the following two specific aims using a randomized, non-blinded, repeated measures, clinical intervention design. Specific Aim 1 is to test the hypothesis that the experimental alarm will more effectively awaken children 5-12 years of age during slow wave sleep when compared with a traditional high frequency tone residential alarm. Specific Aim 2 is to test the hypothesis that the experimental alarm will result in successful completion of simulated escape behaviors by children 5-12 years of age after awakening from slow wave sleep when compared with a traditional high frequency tone residential alarm. This research is highly innovative and methodologically stronger than previous studies because sleep stage is monitored, which is a critical factor influencing sleep arousal, and subjects perform a simulated escape procedure, which is a vital action for survival in a fire. A smoke alarm must both awaken and prompt a person's escape to be effective. No commercially available smoke alarm has had its effectiveness evaluated in this rigorous manner. Our team has the unique experience and qualifications to successfully conduct this research to develop an alarm that will effectively awaken children and other household occupants and prompt their escape in a fire emergency. Innovations in Safety, LLC was created with the goal of developing and marketing safety technologies at low cost in the United States and in low and middle income countries globally.