Performance of Thermal Exposure Sensors in Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) Devices

Report Date: September 2005

Fire fighters can be overcome by heat or smoke and may be unable to alert others of their need for assistance. Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices are designed to signal for aid if a firefighter becomes incapacitated. Thermal sensor technology has already been included in some PASS devices, but no standard exists for testing the performance. NIST performed a number of full-scale experiments to demonstrate the performance of different PASS devices. The tests show that current thermal sensing/PASS implementations are unlikely to provide sufficient warning of a thermal hazard.


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  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

    The NIST Fire Research Division develops, verifies, and utilizes measurements and predictive methods to quantify the behavior of fire and means to reduce the impact of fire on people, property, and the environment. This work involves integration of laboratory measurements, verified methods of prediction, and large-scale fire experiments to demonstrate the use and value of the research products.

    Through its programs in measurement, prediction, systems integration, and the dynamics of fire and its interactions with the built and natural environment, the division provides leadership for advancing the theory and practice of fire safety engineering, fire fighting, fire investigation, fire testing, fire data management, and intentional burning.

Bryner, Nelson, Daniel Madrzykowski, and David Stroup. Performance of Thermal Exposure Sensors in Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) Devices. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, 2005. NISTIR 7294, Print.

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