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A Review of Risk Perception in Building Fire Evacuation



Max T. Kinateder, Erica D. Kuligowski, Paul A. Reneke, Richard Peacock


Risk perception (RP) is studied in many research disciplines (e.g., safety engineering, psychology, or sociology), and the contexts surrounding the ways in which different concepts of RP are applied vary greatly. Definitions of RP can be broadly divided into Expectancy-value and Risk-as-feeling approaches. RP is seen as the personalization of the risk related to a current event, such as an ongoing fire emergency, and is influenced by affects and prone to cognitive biases. The present article is a literature review that differentiates RP from other related concepts (e.g., situation awareness) and introduces theoretical frameworks (e.g., Protective Action Decision Model and Heuristic-Systematic approaches) relevant to RP in fire evacuation. Furthermore, this paper reviews studies on RP during evacuation and discusses factors modulating RP, as well as the relation between RP and protective actions. This paper concludes with a summary of the factors that influence risk perception and the direction of these relationships (i.e., positive or negative influence, or inconsequential), the limitations of this review, and an outlook on future research.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1840
Report Number


egress, evacuation, evacuation modeling, fire safety, human behavior, human factors, risk perception


Kinateder, M. , Kuligowski, E. , Reneke, P. and Peacock, R. (2014), A Review of Risk Perception in Building Fire Evacuation, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created September 30, 2014, Updated October 12, 2021