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What a User Should Know When Selecting an Evacuation Model.

pdf icon What a User Should Know When Selecting an Evacuation Model. (33180 K)
Kuligowski, E. D.; Gwynne, S. M. V.

Fire Protection Engineering, 30,32-35,38,40, Fall 2005.


evacuation; egress; fire models; planning; evacuation time


In recent years, evacuation models have been increasingly applied in an attempt to understand the outcome of emergency egress scenarios. This has been due to the increased use of performance-based design and the availability of cost-effective, high-performance computer capability. The increase in the use of these types of evacuation tools requires that the important factors involved in the selection of an appropriate evacuation model are better understood. This article provides evacuation model users with the important questions and factors to consider for model selection. Evacuation model users are faced with the choice of numerous modeling tools available across a variety of projects, i.e., applications with ships, buildings, and cities, all of which vary in their requirements. The models vary in their background, capabilities/ characteristics, and future developmental flexibility, which are all important issues that a user should take into consideration before selecting a model for application to a project or series of projects. With all of these choices, what help is available to aid model users in the model-selection process? Currently, several evacuation model reviews exist that aid in the categorization of evacuation models developed up until the time of their publication. However, in most instances, the user is left to distinguish which categories are significant for their particular circumstance and why this is the case. The SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection engineering provides a basic list of questions that a user should ask when selecting a model; however, the questions mainly focus on model sophistication and do not necessarily provide explanations as to why those factors are important. This article attempts to aid in the selection process of an appropriate evacuation model by identifying key factors and explanations regarding project requirements, the background of the model, the current capabilities and characteristics of the model for comparison with other models, and the future progress of a model for a specific application. For many of the key factors, associated examples* of evacuation models are presented in the text.