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Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Sleeping Room Fire Experiments.



Daniel M. Madrzykowski, William D. Walton


The objective of this study was to compare the levels of hazard created by room fires in a dormitory building with and without automatic fire sprinklers in the room of fire origin. This report describes a series of experiments where fires were initiated in a dormitory sleeping room. The description of the experimental conditions includes: the geometry and construction of the building, the fuel load in the sleeping rooms, and the location of the instrumentation used to measure gas temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations and heat flux. Smoke alarm activation and sprinkler activation times are also reported. Five experiments were conducted. In two of the experiments, the door between the sleeping room (room of fire origin) and the corridor was closed. In the other three experiments the door from the sleeping room (room of fire origin) remained open to the corridor. In each case, door closed or door open, one of the experiments was sprinklered. The results from the experiments comparing the sprinklered and non-sprinklered sleeping room are presented. The results from these experiments demonstrate the potential life safety benefits of smoke alarms, compartmentation, and automatic fire sprinkler systems in college dormitories and similar occupancies. These experiments were conducted by NIST in cooperation with the University of Arkansas and the Fayetteville Fire Department.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1658
Report Number


corridor tests, dormitories, fire data, gas concentrations, heat flux, large scale fire tests, sprinklers, temperature measurements


Madrzykowski, D. and Walton, W. (2010), Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Sleeping Room Fire Experiments., Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017