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Rethinking Egress: A Vision for the Future



Jason D. Averill, Richard D. Peacock


New technologies and research are redefining the state-of-the-art in building evacuation. The time is right to rethink the entire infrastructure of egress from buildings in light new opportunities to address the economic and life-safety issues. Approximately 40 experts from a variety of disciplinary background assembled in Warrenton, VA from April 1-3, 2008 in order to consider building evacuation, starting with a blank sheet of paper. Structured around the principles of Value-Focused Thinking (a text authored by workshop moderator Ralph Keeney), the participants were encouraged to consider values, objectives, alternatives, and metrics. This process combined the benefits of free-thinking brainstorming with a formalism which encouraged evaluation of the potential for new ideas. By the conclusion of the third day, over 400 ideas had been developed, along with metrics for future evaluation of the ideas.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1647
Report Number


Fire, safety, high-rise buildings, egress, evacuation


Averill, J. and Peacock, R. (2009), Rethinking Egress: A Vision for the Future, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created November 30, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017