Four human behavioural traits to consider in emergency situations
While providing safe exits remains fundamental to fire and building safety, human behaviour in an emergency situation can also be an important factor. Wrightstyle Limited lists the additional considerations that should be taken into account.
While providing safe exits remains fundamental to fire and building safety, human behaviour in an emergency situation can also be an important factor, Wrightstyle Limited notes. The company states that although evacuation models, based on engineering and computational tools, have been used for some time to estimate the time taken to evacuate a building, research demonstrates that these computer models don’t necessarily reflect the variable nature of human reaction.
According to the company, an understanding of human behaviour in an emergency situation, particularly the factors that have been shown to influence our decision-making processes, is needed for fire safety teams to develop a more comprehensive and predictive behaviour model for a building’s fire evacuation.
It lists the additional considerations that should be taken into account as:
- Exit choice behaviour – the different exits that people will choose to leave by, often because they’re also the entrances and routes by which they arrive at work.
- Pre-movement times – the golden period immediately following a fire alarm, when the fire has been detected, but doesn’t yet pose a threat. This pre-movement time is a more significant evacuation factor than the length of time taken to reach an exit. As much as two-thirds of the time it takes people to exit a building after an alarm is time spent looking for more information.
- If someone encounters smoke during their evacuation, will he or she choose to go through it, even if they know it’s the quickest route to an exit?
- Group dynamics – how a number of people, in different states of fear, influence one another.