egress models; evacuee behavior; model development human behavior in fire
Structures are currently designed and typically constructed in accordance with prescriptive and performance-based methodologies to ensure a certain level of safety. The performance-based approach requires the quantification of both available safe egress time (ASET) and required safe egress time (RSET) to determine the degree of safety provided. This article focuses on the RSET side of the equation, for which an engineer would use some type of egress modelling approach to estimate evacuation performance. Often, simple engineering equations are applied to estimate the RSET value; however, over time, more sophisticated computational tools have appeared. Irrespective of the approach adopted, appropriate and accurate representation of human behavior in fire within these approaches is limited, mainly due to the lack of a comprehensive conceptual model of evacuee decision-making and behavior during fire emergencies. This article initially presents a set of behavioral statements that represent the primary elements of current understanding regarding evacuee behavior. Once presented, guidance is provided on how these behavioral statements might be incorporated by the model developer into an egress model. The intent here is to assist in the advancement of current egress models by outlining the model structures required to represent the current understanding of egress behavior.