ForensicVR: Investigating human behaviour in fire with Virtual Reality

Research output: Book/ReportReport


A forensic investigation of a fire scene can provide insights on the circumstances of a fatal fire. However, people’s attitudes and subsequent behaviour can only be inferred. A full reconstruction in real life of a fatal fire is generally not possible due to ethical reasons regarding the serious threat people would be exposed to and the costs that such an experiment would have. We propose here the ForensicVR method, a novel and innovative way to study human behaviour in fire by recreating, in Virtual Reality (VR), evacuation scenarios from real-world, well-documented fatal fires. The methodology has been developed and tested for two case studies, namely 1) a hotel fire scenario, in which the behaviour of individuals in their rooms was investigated and 2) a nightclub fire scenario, in which the impact of social influence on evacuation behaviour have been studied. Two set of VR evacuation experiments have been conducted for these case studies, including a total of 122 participants. Results show that participants in a VR experiment attempt and succeed at performing both simple and complex actions when exposed to a fire evacuation scenario. Participants reported some level of stress due to the simulated emergency, despite knowing the threat was not real. Participants in the scenario behaved in a comparable way as the victims of the corresponding real fires, which supports the potential of the ForensicVR methodology.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering


  • virtual reality, evacuation, human behaviour, fire safety, social influence, Pedestrian movement
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLund
Number of pages38
VolumeReport 3218
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov 30
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

PublisherLund university

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