According to the Economist “on hearing a fire alarm many people do absolutely nothing. It is only when they see direct evidence of a fire, such as smoke or flames, that they act”.
Today’s invention is therefore an adaptation to existing alarms. Fire alarm testing would take place entirely as normal, but in the event that an alarm was activated, all of the other alarms in a building would emit a small burst of non-toxic, smoke-like material.
This would be in such small quantities that escape routes would not be obscured but occupants would be made aware of the urgent need to evacuate…and stimulated at a primal level to achieve this.
There might even be scope for illuminating each smoke cloud with a flame-like flickering light, shone from a lamp within the alarm housing.