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ALARM 1.0: Decision Support Software for Cost-Effective Compliance With Fire Safety Codes



S F. Weber, Barbara C. Lippiatt


ALARM, Alternative Life Safety Analysis for Retrofit Cost Minimization, is a personal computer software tool that helps building managers and fire safety officers achieve cost-effective compliance with the widely-used "Life Safety Code". This first version of ALARM supports analysis of health care occupancies. Through use of an equivalency provision in the code, ALARM implements a goal-oriented, or performance-based approach to code compliance. ALARM generates a set of alternative code compliance strategies and their estimated costs. These strategies offer decision support by providing a set of alternatives from which to select the most appropriate code compliance strategy based on both cost and design considerations. The software offers an integrated code compliance optimizer, full-screen data editor, and file manager. The optimization method used in ALARM has been field tested in nearly 100 hospitals since 1981. Cost savings have been found to average between 30 and 35 percent of the cost of prescriptive compliance strategies. ALARM could be tailored to other building occupancies in the future.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 5554
Report Number


building codes, cost minimization, economic analysis, fire safety, health care facilities, hospitals, life safety codes, linear programming, optimization


Weber, S. and Lippiatt, B. (1994), ALARM 1.0: Decision Support Software for Cost-Effective Compliance With Fire Safety Codes, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created December 1, 1994, Updated August 7, 2014