Uncoordinated egress – An Experiment

Wagner Alberto de Moraes, Santa Catarina Military Fire Department

Abstract

People fleeing from an overcrowded fire scene may delay their own escape by obstructing the emergency exit by themselves. In a controlled environment free of obstacles, evacuation experiments were performed where firefighters trainees had to escape through a single door with a 1.12-meter span, varying the crowd density. In the filming, besides the formation of supporting arches where people get stuck to each other and against the walls, it was observed turbulence, characterized by random and involuntary movements of people within the crowd. The simulation model proposed by Helbing, Farkas and Vicsek (2000) was validated with experimental data and then used to investigate the relationship between door size and evacuation time.

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