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How To Evacuate From A Fire

1278 words - 6 pages

In a fire there are many environmental factors that can influence the behavior of the occupants within the space. This reaction will determine if other occupants will find themselves in danger or if their choice will put other people at risk. The way an occupant is alerted to the presence of a fire can determine the degree of threat perceived. Once the threat is perceived a course of action will be decided and carried out. In many studies one key element remains a constant in the observation of behavior through a fire modeling program. The programs are used to predict foot traffic of the occupants but will never be able to determine the actual decision and various obstacles that can develop during the event. It allows the fire protection designer to consider what building features need to be updated to allow for better flow of traffic. There is only so much information that can be input and manipulated to get a realistic result. In order to expand predictive theory of human behavior in fires, the factors that will influence a person to take certain actions must be identified. Examples of actions taken during an evacuation include information seeking, passing on the information to others, and preparing for evacuation. It is through audio and live cues where the best outcome has been observed.
Before individuals perform an action, they perceive certain cues, interpret the situation risk based on those cues, and then make a decision about what to do based on these interpretations. There are also certain factors that influence each phase of the process. These factors influence whether the individual perceives the cue or not, influences what type of interpretation the individual forms about the situation and the risk based on that cue and there are factors that influence the decision about an action. Occupants will begin the behavioral process when presented with information that breaks their daily routine. A new behavioral process begins each time a person receives new information relating to the event; they are seeking information. A specific action will occur based on whether the information is perceived, the interpretation of the situation and the risk, and the decisions made regarding what to do. To help develop a model for this type of occurrence, post event analysis of behavior is collected and studied. The behavior has described the reaction of occupants as adaptive or non-adaptive and participative or inhibited. These approaches will be shaped by the visual and audio cues. The earliest documented study on human behavior in the United States was conducted by the National Bureau of Standards, Design and Construction of Building. It involved capacity counts of the velocity of pedestrian movement for the New York City design of the Hudson Terminal Building in 1901. This focused on how individuals moved out of a large location and the time it took to accomplish the evacuation. The masses remained at a calm state of mind when directed to an...

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