Visualization of auditory masking for firefighter alarm detection
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An essential piece of firefi ghter equipment is the Personal Alert Safety System (PASS), which emits an alarm when a fire fighter has been inactive for a specified period of time and is used to find and rescue downed firefighters. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) firefighter fatality reports suggest that there have been instances when the PASS alarm is not audible by other firefighters on the scene. This thesis seeks to use acoustic models to measure the sound pressure level of various signals throughout a structure. With this information, a visual representation will be created to map where a PASS alarm is audible and where it is masked by noise sources. This thesis presents an initial audibility study, including temporal masking and frequency analysis. The results are compared to auralizations and experimental data. Some other potential applications will be briefly explored.