Building Occupant Safety
Building Occupant Evacuation Data
As part of a program to better understand occupant behavior during building emergencies, the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been collecting movement data on stairs during fire drill evacuations of office and residential buildings. These data collections are intended to provide a better understanding of this principal building egress feature and develop a technical foundation for future codes and standards requirements.
Simple Estimates of Building Egress Time
NIST has developed a simple tool that combines estimates of stairwell and elevator egress timing to provide an overall estimate of evacuation from buildings. It is based on methods developed in the Society for Fire Protection Engineers Handbook for egress using stairwells and the work of Klote and Alvord on modeling elevator evacuations.
In addition to the collection of data from building evacuations, NIST is active research on human behavior during emergencies, engineering requirements for safe building egress, and egress modeling. A range of publications are available from this research.