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Discriminating Between Smoldering and Flaming Fires Using Alarm Signals



William D. Davis


Strategies are developed that make use of signals from smoke and heat alarms to deduce conditions in a room for both flaming and smoldering fires. The issue addressed is to determine how to provide useful information to incident command for smoldering fires using signals from smoke and heat alarms. Experiments were conducted to characterize the differences between small flaming and smoldering fires in a full-scale room. Based on these differences, a methodology was developed to interpret the alarm signals in a way to provide useful information for incident command.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1684
Report Number


fire experiments, smoldering, flaming, smoke alarms, heat alarms


Davis, W. (2011), Discriminating Between Smoldering and Flaming Fires Using Alarm Signals, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 12, 2024)
Created January 3, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017