Smoke Alarm/emergency Egress Device for Older Users

Period of Performance: 04/01/1989 - 05/31/1990


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Comsis Corporation
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Principal Investigator


Older adults are particularly at risk from residential fires. From the mid-sixties, death rates from fires and burns are substantially higher than for the general population. For a variety of reasons, older residents amy have more difficulty detecting and escaping a fire. Residential smoke alarms have proven to be a valuable mans of reducing the risk of injury, and older adults may be presumed to derive particular benefit from these devices. Unfortunately, current smoke alarms are poorly designed to meet the needs of older people. The project objective is to enhance the safety, security, and independence of older residents by developing a commercially viable fire safety product for older users. It will address the capabilities and behaviors of older populations so as to redress the serious inadequacies of present smoke alarms, and also expand the current functions so as to facilitate fire agrees. Various cost-effective technical innovations are now possible. Further, it may be feasible to incorporate aspects of Personal Emergency Response System at relatively little cost, providing additional safety and security to the user. The commercial potential is extensive, given the already extensive use of smoke alarms and formal requirements of many building codes.