20 Apr 2023

Sounding the alarm

Every second is vital when a fire breaks out and the speed that people can be alerted to the danger and buildings evacuated can make a significant difference to the consequences.

New research has looked at the most effective ways of raising the alarm using sound, including voice messages and alarm noises.

The first part of the study tested eight different sounds. They examined how well they could be heard over other noises and looked at their effect on listeners.

The four most effective noises were then combined with voice alerts for the second phase of the study.

Researchers found that a siren-like alarm noise was the most effecting and supplementing it with a voice alert reduced ambiguity and helped drive action.

The findings could help develop improved alarm and fire safety systems.

The study, published in the journal Ergonomics, said: “The alarm sound itself should capture attention and stimulate arousal. Then, the voice alert provides further information and enables a quick and motivated action in response to the warning signal.”

Find out more here.


Related topics