FSEG at the “Human Behaviour in Fire” 2012 Conference

FSEG will be at the Human Behaviour in Fire conference next week (19-21 Sept 2012) in Cambridge UK.   FSEG staff attending the conference are: Prof Ed Galea, Dr Steve Gwynne, Dr Mike Kinsey, Dr Steve Deere, Mr Darren Blackshields, Dr Lynn Hulse, Ms Aoife Hunt (Phd Student), Ms Maria Pretorius (Phd Student), Mr Simo Haasanen (Phd Student), Mr Robert Brown (Phd Student) and Mrs Kirsten Salzer-Frost (Phd Student).

Come and visit the EXODUS demo stand and check out our most recent research which will be presented through 7 papers:

“Fire and Evacuation Simulation of the Fatal 1985 Manchester Airport B737 Fire”, Wang, Z., Jia, F., and Galea, E.R.


In this paper, fire and evacuation computer simulations are conducted to determine the impact of exit opening times on the evacuation and survivability during the Manchester Airport B737 fire of 1985. The fire and evacuation simulation tools, SMARTFIRE and airEXODUS are used in the analysis. The work is in two parts, the first part attempts to reconstruct the actual fire incident and ensuing evacuation using the known facts derived from the official investigation report.  The second part investigates the impact of exit opening times on the aircraft fire development and subsequent evacuation. The results suggest that the number of fatalities could have been reduced by 92% had the delays in opening two of the three exits been avoided.  Furthermore, it is suggested that opening of the unused aft right exit during the accident did not contribute to the high loss of life in this accident.  Indeed, it is suggested that the opening of this exit improved survivability within the cabin and reduced the death toll by some 17%.

“Investigating the impact of culture on evacuation behaviour — A Polish Data-Set”, Galea, E.R., Sharp, G., Sauter, M., Deere, S.J., Filippidis, L.

In this paper results from an unannounced evacuation trial conducted within a library inWarsawPolandare presented and discussed. This experimental evacuation is part of a large international study investigating the impact of culture on evacuation behaviour. In addition, a framework to enable the systematic analysis of Response Phase behaviours is presented and applied to the trial data. The framework not only provides a consistent method for describing Response Phase behaviour, but also provides a framework for classifying and quantifying the Response Phase other than simply using the overall response time. An empirical response time model, based on data generated using the framework is also presented and applied to the evacuation trial data. The empirical response time model produces a prediction for the average response time for the trial population which is within 3% of the measured value. In addition to presenting Response Phase data, a data-set suitable for the validation of evacuation models is also presented. This consists of both egress times and time dependent density measurements.  buildingEXODUS predictions of the evacuation are compared with the validation data and shown to be in good agreement with the measured data.

“Modelling Human Factors and Evacuation Lift Dispatch Strategies”, Kinsey, M.J., Galea, E.R., and Lawrence, P.J.


This paper presents an overview of a series of evacuation simulations utilising different lift dispatch strategies using an empirical based enhanced agent-lift model developed within the buildingEXODUS software. A brief description of the enhanced agent-lift model is presented. The evacuation scenarios investigated are based on a hypothetical 50 floor building with four staircases and a population of 7,840 agents. While past studies have measured the influence of such evacuation lift dispatch strategies assuming compliant/homogenous agent behaviour, this study extends that work by highlighting the potential influence of human factors upon such evacuation lift dispatch strategies. The study suggests that evacuation lift human factors can considerably decrease evacuation performance and highlights the need for consideration within evacuation strategies based on lifts.  

“An Analysis of the Performance of Trained Staff Using Movement Assist Devices To Evacuate the Non-Ambulant”, Hunt, A., Galea E.R., and Lawrence, P.J.

This paper describes a series of trials undertaken to quantify the performance of trained hospital staff in evacuating a test subject through 11 floors of Ghent University Hospital using four commonly used movement assistance devices: stretcher, carry-chair, evacuation chair and rescue sheet.  In total 32 trials were conducted, using both male and female assist teams.  Presented in the paper are performance results, including: device preparation time, horizontal speeds, vertical speeds, and overtaking potential in stairwells. These data, alongside those established in questionnaire data from the experiment participants, form the basis of the device performance evaluation presented in this paper. A comparative methodology is derived to assess the efficiency of the devices. This methodology enabled performance differences to be established, according to the devices employed and the staff involved.

“The UK BeSeCu Fire Fighter Study: A Study of UK Fire Fighters’ Emotional, Cognitive and Behavioural Reactions to Emergencies”, Hulse, L.M. and Galea, E.R.

A survey of UK firefighters revealed them to be seemingly psychologically prepared for what their job would expose them to but not immune to experiencing emotional arousal or perceived risk during emergency events. A number of aspects, such as the event posing serious consequences to their lives/well-being, were singled out as particularly distressing and linked with greater emotional arousal, while other aspects, ones focused on other people/circumstances, reduced perceived risk. Traffic accidents appeared to be a special case, inducing lower arousal and risk than another commonly attended emergency, domestic fires. More years of service had a positive effect on the risk perceived during a stressful event but heightened the emotional arousal in that moment. Received support was one of the most significant predictors of posttraumatic stress and growth, as well as being significantly linked to peri-event thoughts/feelings, although other variables not tested here, e.g. individual differences, might be better at explaining posttraumatic states than event-related variables. The sample reported that safety work with a risk group, migrants, was underway and appeared to be beneficial in reducing instances of “inappropriate behaviour” during emergencies but communication difficulties were an issue and training on this matter would appear desirable. Significant differences in responses across the UK were detected and consequences for international comparisons are discussed.

“The Collection and Analysis of Data from a Fatal Large-Scale Crowd Incident”, Pretorius, M., Gwynne, S., and Galea, E.R.

This paper discusses the analysis of data-sets from observations made at the Duisburg Love Parade in 2010 and the large-scale crowd situation that ended in fatalities due to the development of crush conditions. This event is a useful case study of large crowd circulation based on the materialthat was made publically available by the organisers and attendees. The resultant data-set has been used to configure the buildingEXODUS modelto approximate the original incident in order to verify both the model’s performance and the underlying scenario assumptions; i.e. whether buildingEXODUS can reliably represent agent actions, the conditions that develop and the impact of these developments.

“Response Time Data for Large Passenger Ferries and Cruise Ships”, Brown, R., Galea, E.R., Deere, S., and Filippidis, L.


This paper outlines research that was carried-out under the EU FP7 7 project SAFEGUARD and presents three sets of passenger response time data generated from full-scale semi-unannounced assembly trials at sea.  The data sets were generated from two different types of passenger ships, a RO-PAX ferry, SuperSpeed 1 (SS1) and a cruise ship, Jewel of the Seas (JoS).  In total response times from over 2200 people were collected making it the largest response time data set ever collected — on land or sea.  The paper presents the analysis methodology used to extract the response time data and the resultant response time distributions (RTD).  A number of key findings from the data analysis will also be presented, which includes: (a) all generated RTDs are log-normal, (b) RTDs from the two SS1 trials using two different populations are very similar, (c) The combined RTD for the SS1 is almost identical to the RTD generated from the earlier published data for the same type of vessel, (d) The RTD derived for the public spaces on the JoS is significantly different to that of the SS1, (e) The RTD for public spaces and cabins are significantly different.  These findings are discussed in this paper and form the basis of a recommendation to be submitted to the International Maritime Organisation to be used to frame the next iteration of the international guidelines for ship evacuation analysis.

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