Ascending evacuation in long stairways: Physical exertion, walking speed and behaviour

Enrico Ronchi, Johan Norén, Mattias Delin, Kalev Kuklane, Amitava Halder, Silvia Arias, Karl Fridolf

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Abstract

This is the final report of the project “Ascending evacuation in long stairways: Physical exertion, walking speed and behaviour”. This project investigated the effects of fatigue on walking speeds, physiological performance and behaviours in case of long ascending evacuation. The report includes a literature review on, at the time when the project began, existing material on ascending evacuation on long stairs and escalators. Experimental research was conducted and the results are presented in the report. This includes two set of experiments on human performance during ascending evacuation in long stairs. In addition, an individual and group experiment was performed to investigate the performance of people during an ascending evacuation on a long stopped escalator. One laboratory experiment was conducted on a stair machine and a methodology to link the laboratory and the field experiments has been presented. Results include walking speeds, physiological measures of physical exertion (oxygen consumption, heart rates and electromyography data), perceived exertion and behavioural observations. Results show that physical work capacity affect walking speeds in case of long ascending evacuation and it should be considered while using long ascending evacuation in engineering design. The analysis of both walking and vertical speeds is recommended since it provides additional insights on the impact of stair configuration on vertical displacement. The novel datasets presented in this report are deemed to provide useful information for fire safety engineers both for assisting fire safety design as well as the calibration of evacuation modelling tools. A new prediction model for the representation of physical exertion in relation to physiological data, i.e., maximal oxygen consumption, has been developed and presented. This model allows predicting the time that a person can walk upwards at a certain pace in relation to physical exertion and human physical work capacity.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety, Lund University
Number of pages116
Volume3192
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameTVBB-3192
Volume3192

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Civil Engineering

Keywords

  • human behaviour
  • walking speed
  • physical exertion
  • escalators
  • stairs
  • fatigue
  • ascending evacuation

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