Building Occupant Safety Research 2008
Historically, building egress systems have evolved in response to specific large loss incidents. Currently, systems are designed around a concept of providing stair capacity for the largest occupant load floor in the building with little or no consideration of occupant behavior, needs of emergency responders, or evolving technologies. Aggressive building designs, changing occupant demographics, and consumer demand for more efficient systems have forced egress designs beyond the traditional stairwell-based approaches, with little technical foundation for performance and economic trade-offs. With support from the U. S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been conducting research to provide appropriate scientific underpinnings for understanding occupant movement, behavior and overall safety during building emergencies.
Presented here are the results of the 2008 research program conducted by BFRL in cooperation with GSA. This research has formed the technical basis for significant revisions to model building code provisions that consider the impact of multiple aspects building design and use including the emergency use of elevators by occupants and first responders, appropriate design of stairwells, and occupant behavior during building emergencies.
The following papers were published as part of this research in 2008:
- Summary of NIST/GSA Cooperative Research on the Use of Elevators During Fire Emergencies, NIST Special Publication 1620
- Emergency Egress From Buildings: Part 1: History and Current Regulations for Egress System Design and Part 2: New Thinking on Egress From Buildings, NIST Technical Note 1623
- Modeling Human Behavior During Building Fires, NIST Technical Note 1619
- Stairwell Evacuation from Buildings: What We Know We Don't Know, NIST Technical Note 1624