Identifying the Reasons Why They Won't Leave: Fire Alarm Activations at the Housing Authority of Grays Harbor Manors [open pdf - 347KB]
"The purpose of a fire alarm system is to provide early warning so evacuation movement can occur during the incipient stage of a fire. The problem addressed by this research was the Aberdeen Fire Department (AFD) had not identified why some occupants at four Housing Authority of Grays Harbor (HAGH) residential manors were not evacuating during fire alarm activations. The purpose of this research was to identify the casual factors of poor evacuation movement and explore viable alternatives to total building evacuation. Descriptive research utilizing semi-structured interviews of the HAGH occupants and data retrieved from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) database were used to answer the research questions: (a) What is causing fire alarm activations at the HAGH manors (5 year data survey); (b) What are the physical or personal barriers preventing some occupants from evacuating; (c) What is the current compliance with evacuation procedures; (d) For the occupants who do not evacuate, what is their rationale for not evacuating; (e) What training or education have the occupants received on evacuation procedures; and (f) Are there alternatives to total building evacuation that achieve occupant safety? A survey instrument was developed and semi-structured face-to-face interviews of 189 occupants residing at the manors were conducted. The results indicated the causal factors of poor evacuation movement were false alarms and alarm activations from burned food, occupants looking for secondary confirmation in the form of smoke of fire, waiting to see what actions other occupants were taking, waiting for further instructions."
United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/