This project involved developing an ability to simulate the evacuation performance of people in smoke conditions using the buildingEXODUS evacuation model.

When evacuating through fire environments, the presence of smoke may not only have a physiological impact on the evacuees but may also lead occupants to adapt their evacuation strategy through the adoption of another exit.  This project attempts to introduce this type of adaptive behaviour into the buildingEXODUS evacuation model through enabling occupants to make decisions concerning the selection of the most viable available exit during an evacuation involving a fire hazard.  The development of this adaptive behaviour requires the introduction of several new capabilities: a localised representation of the occupants' familiarity with the structure and the occupant’s behavioural response when faced with a smoke barrier.  The appropriateness of the redirection decision is dependent upon behavioural data gathered from real fire incidents that is used to construct the redirection probabilities.  This data is limited and is based on findings in the U.K. and U.S.A, primarily for incidents in residential properties and it should therefore be used with caution in other applications.

As new and more sophisticated evidence arises, so the behavioural features will evolve.  It is hoped that in the future, fire investigators, fire brigades and human behaviour researchers will attempt to collect this data. The introduction of these behaviours increases the functionality of the buildingEXODUS model.  It is intended that the adaptive capabilities of the occupant will be further extended to include reaction to communication, affiliative behaviour, occupant motivation and a stochastic element to the queuing recommitment behaviour.  For this development to occur and to establish an acceptable level of confidence in the results produced, more data is required concerning the decision-making process.

The implementation developed has been shown to provide a more complex and arguably more realistic representation of this behaviour than that provided previously.

For more information about evacuation modelling and the EXODUS software visit the EXODUS Web Pages. For a complete listing of EXODUS and evacuation publications visit the FSEG Publications pages