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Evacuation Behavior During Building Fires

Lawrence R. Eichner, PE

Fire research shows that over 67% of injured occupants and over 50% of the fatalities in building fires could have evacuated safely but for behaviors that delayed them, such as searching for belongings and information. However, most evacuation models focus on estimating evacuation movement while almost ignoring the prediction of these crucial behaviors. As a result, oversimplified evacuation models can inappropriately characterize the time it actually takes for occupants to evacuate a building. All building design professionals involved in life safety analysis should recognize the limitations of evacuation models as well as understand occupant evacuation behavior during building fires so as to ultimately develop safer building features. This online course explains the behavioral process and suggests a basic conceptual model of occupant behavior during fire evacuations. The course materials are based entirely on; Modeling Human Behavior during Building Fires by Erica D. Kuligowski, NIST Technical Note 1619, 2008, and The Process of Human Behavior in Fires by Erica D. Kuligowski, NIST Technical Note 1632, 2009.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.