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30-07-2019 | Issue 2/2020

Fire Technology 2/2020

Toward Fire Safe Schools: Analysis of Modelling Speed and Specific Flow of Children During Evacuation Drills

Journal:
Fire Technology > Issue 2/2020
Authors:
Glenn N. Hamilton, Patrick F. Lennon, John O’Raw
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Abstract

It is without question that a child’s perspective on the world or any event is very different from the perspective of an adult. Considering the variance in physical and cognitive abilities, it is appropriate that children are deemed a vulnerable group in society with respect to fire. This must be acknowledged in the fire safety design of child-centric buildings, as studies conducted over the past 10 years have indicated a distinction between an adult and a child. The objective of this paper is to provide empirical data and analysis of the modelling speed and specific flow components of evacuation. The data was obtained from the evacuations of four mainstream primary schools (children aged 4 to 12) in County Donegal, Ireland. In total, 2245 no. children were evacuated during twelve full-scale evacuations. A mean modelling speed of 0.99 m/s was found, and the observations indicate that modelling speed was influenced by four main factors; age, location (ground or first floor), group leader (adult or pupil), and class position (first or last). Specific flow rates and density levels were observed at exit doors. A mean specific flow of 1.6 persons/second/metre was observed at a mean density of 0.076 m2/m2, and pupils were capable of a specific flow rate three times that of an adult population. While making an addition to the existing limited data on the pedestrian dynamics of children, this paper provides a novel analysis of the influence of actual density (m2/m2) on the horizontal and vertical travel speed, and specific flow of children.

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