Stairwell Evacuation From Buildings: What We Know We Don't Know.
Stairwell Evacuation From Buildings: What We Know We
Peacock, R. D.; Averill, J. D.; Kuligowski, E. D.
NIST TN 1624; NIST Technical Note 1624; 16 p. January
stairwells; evacuation; occupants; egress; building
design; emergency plans; planning; reconstruction;
people movement; fire drills; statistics; physiological
effects; human behavior; human response; human
Occupant descent down stairwells during building
evacuations is typically described by measureable
engineering variables such as stairwell geometry, speed,
density, and pre-evacuation delay. In turn, predictive
models of building evacuation use these variables to
predict the performance of egress systems for building
design, emergency planning, or event reconstruction.
This paper provides a summary of literature values for
movement speeds and compares these to several new fire
drill evacuations. Movement speeds in the current study
to be quite similar to the range of literature values.
Perhaps most importantly though, the typical engineering
parameters are seen to explain only a small fraction of
the observed variance in occupant movement speeds. This
suggests that traditional measures form an incomplete
theory of people movement in stairs. Additional research
to better understand the physiological and behavioural
aspects of the evacuation process and the difference
between fire drill evacuations and real fire emergencies