Extremely loud alarms in conjunction with flashing lights helps save lives. The louder the better!
I work for my state as a fire inspector, and here are some of my thoughts;
We were in training not too long ago about fire alarms and their inspection and testing. During the class the instructor played an informative video pertaining to use of "Voice Alarms" instead of piercing shreaks. They went to a home of a volunteer firefighter who had three kids ages 13, 4, and 2, who volunteered to do a study of audible alarms and their effectiveness. When the kids were asleep (around midnight, 1am) they set off the fire alarms. Shockingly...None of the kids even stirred. The oldest (13 year old girl) pulled her blankets over her head and went back to sleep. The 2 year old never even woke up, the 4 year old tossed and turned but never got out of bed or woke up fully.
Then, the next night they used a newer style alarm using the recorded voices of their parents. The mothers voice was heard saying things like "Get up kids, there is a fire and you need to get out, find mommy and daddy now! Get out!" and the kids instantly got out of bed and responded to the alarm. Just some food for thought to all of you alarm companies and contractors out there.
Also, with audible and visual alarms, generally they put visual alarms in healthcare facilities for those that need it such as deaf people, and they use strobes in public bathrooms instead of audibles to cut back on hearing damage in the confined bathroom area. The strobes are used in schools also.
Good info Brian
Any chance you could find out more on the video. My detectors are 10 years old in 2012 and I'd like to find out as much info as I can for the bedroom alarms before I replace them. I did a quick google search on voice fire alarm study and did find some good info but am really interested to know what is being presented to code enforcement.
We did install a wireless system in our church that alternates between beeps and a voice alerts with a few programed locations each detector can be set to. Basically tells you what detector has been set off. Worked well when we did a test fire drill.
Thanks for the info in advance.