Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Test Fire Signatures and the Fire-Emulator/Detector-Evaluation (NISTIR 6030)



William L. Grosshandler, Thomas G. Cleary


Existing methods for evaluating the performance of smoke and thermal detectors are reviewed. The levels of combustion gases, smoke, temperature and velocity likely to be produced in the European standard detector test fires are discussed, and this information is used to establish the operating conditions for a fire-emulator/detector-evaluator (FE/DE). The first generation FE/DE being developed by BFRL will handle multi-criteria spot-type detectors over the anticipated range of realistic operating conditions. Measurements in non-flaming test fires (TF 2 and TF 3) are described and example signatures are proposed for training the FE/DE to evaluate combination smoke/heat/gas detection systems.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6030
Report Number


fire safety, fire research, fire detection, fire tests, fire detectors, smoke detectors, gas detectors, heat detectors, smoldering


Grosshandler, W. and Cleary, T. (1997), Test Fire Signatures and the Fire-Emulator/Detector-Evaluation (NISTIR 6030), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created June 1, 1997, Updated November 10, 2018