Dormitory fire safety, students can flee

April 13, 2010 at 1:22 AM
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GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 13 (UPI) -- Fire sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and closed doors provide the time for dormitory residents safely to escape a fire, U.S. researchers said.

Fire researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology compared room fires in dormitory buildings with and without sprinklers.

For the study, researchers used a dormitory that included clothing, books and furniture typically found in student housing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., which was scheduled to be replaced.

Dan Madrzykowski, an NIST fire protection engineer, said fires create hazards of high heat, loss of visibility and toxic gases.

The smoke alarms activated within 30 seconds after a trash container in a dorm room began burning.

Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted with the dorm room door and windows closed, while rooms for experiments 2 and 3 had automatic fire sprinklers. Experiments 4 and 5 were conducted with the door of the dorm room open and no sprinklers.

The researchers found smoke alarms, closed doors and automatic fire sprinkler systems the most effective in allowing students to leave safely.

The studies are at the Web sites: and

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