Fire Prevention & Safety Research & Development Grants - 2010 Grant Awards

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This page contains information about Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Research and Development (R&D) Grant number EMW-2010-FP-00851. The content is useful for those in the fire service seeking information about to how to improve the safety and health of firefighters.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2010

Fire Prevention Grant
Project Title: Battery-Free Flashover Alarm for Firefighters
Organization: Center for Firefighter Safety Research & Development, University of Maryland
Principle Investigator: Marino diMarzo, Ph.D
Grant Number: EMW-2010-FP-00851
Award Total: $581,769.00
Period of Performance: 07/09/2011 – 07/08/2013
Grant Status: Active



Flashover contributes significantly to firefighter fatalities and injuries. It is very difficult for firefighters to recognize impending flashover in structures especially when visibility is poor and they are engaged in other life saving or suppression activities.


The primary purpose of this research effort is to develop a passive helmet-mounted flashover alarm that audibly alerts firefighters to conditions of impending flashover. This alarm will not involve any electronics. The alarm will provide adequate warning of flashover conditions for firefighters to evacuate hazardous areas in structures.


The proposed alarm device will be a thermo-acoustic flashover detector that emits a loud tone when flashover approaches. It will be powered by radiant heat from the fire and will involve no electronics or batteries. A porous disk inside a pipe will induce acoustic waves in an air column when a sufficient thermal gradient in a room indicating a flashover potential is present. The system will be developed in the laboratory, and will be tested with radiant panels and small-scale fires. Full-scale tests will then be performed in training facilities to optimize the system design.

Projected Results and Conclusions

Working with an industrial partner, the flashover warning device will be integrated into a firefighter helmet. In that way every firefighter will be provided with an individual warning device that will sense the local conditions in the area of that firefighter. This passive device will provide an audible warning of potential flashover conditions to the firefighter during all fire fighting conditions.

Last Updated: 
10/06/2014 - 17:08
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