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A Review and Implementation of Algorithms for Fast and Reliable Fire Detection



Walter W. Jones


The purpose of detecting fires early is to provide an alarm consistent with an environment which is deemed to be a threat to people or a building. High reliability detection is based on the supposition that it is possible to utilize a sufficient number of sensors to ascertain unequivocally that there is a growing threat either to people or to a building and provide an estimation of the seriousness of the threat. The current generation of fire detection systems is designed to respond to smoke, heat, gaseous emission or electromagnetic radiation generated during smoldering and flaming combustion. Smoke is sensed either by light scattering or changes in conductive properties of the air, heat by thermocouples and thermistors, the electromagnetic spectrum by photodiodes, and gas concentrations by chemical cells. There is much additional work in progress to use solid-state and electrochemical sensors for oxygen, hydrogen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide. The Advanced Fire Service Interface project is a systematic approach to providing consistent information to building managers and emergency response personnel. The intent of this project is to provide better information, faster and more reliably from systems that monitor the environment in buildings, to those responsible for emergency response. The systems must be scalable, reliable, and robust, and must allow for new sensors and new algorithms used in the assessment of the environment resulting from unwanted fires and similar threats. The information should be available whenever and where ever it is needed, and to whomever will benefit from the knowledge. The full gamut of fire detection is possible utilizing currently available sensor technology. This includes very early detection as well as fire following. It has been shown to be possible to detect fires early and reliably using the analog signal of the current generation of fire detectors. The best combination for early detection has been shown to be the complement of ionization, photoelectric, carbon monoxide and temperature. This is best in the sense that it is possible, using current day sensors, to see signatures very early, as well as to deduce quantitative information beyond the normal tenability limits. This paper will demonstrate that low level sensing can achieve the goal of producing early and reliable detection.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7060
Report Number


fire detection, low level sensing, reliable, sensors


Jones, W. (2017), A Review and Implementation of Algorithms for Fast and Reliable Fire Detection, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed May 29, 2024)


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Created February 19, 2017