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Accident Or Terror: Lives To Be Saved

  • April 6th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

nine-eleven.jpegMany lives could be saved through current research in Europe on people’s responses to alarms, to get out of the building  — and  the public are invited to take part in a major survey.

Engineers and mathematicians at the University of Greenwich, in England, have been going over the responses of people in disasters like the train bombings at London and Madrid, “9-11” in New York, and several fires in residential buildings.

They’re also working under a European Union grant to set off unannounced evacuation drills and watch the reactions of people in their offices, in the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey –  part of an effort to see if cultural differences are important, when disaster strikes.

Ed Galea, Professor of Mathematical modelling at Greenwich, says the work can set up reliable models of how crowds will act, which can be used for improving safety factors in the design of buildings.

One feature of the research is a tendency of office staff to take some time cleaning up tasks on the desk, before leaving the building – much stronger than any tendency to go off in a panic. (Some people at the World Trade Centre waited eight minutes).

Members of the research team — within the Greenwich University Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) —   are also studying “way finding”; which way you naturally turn and go, when confused and in danger.

INVITATION TO TAKE PART. The world-wide public is invited to participate in the way-finding survey, especially if left-handed, and other studies in the safety field.

fseg-logo.gifJust visit the site for the “human factors surveys”:, (6.4.10).

Whether it’s coping with an accidental fire, the malice of some terrorist, flooding, or procedures to follow using lifts in tall buildings, taking part may directly preserve precious human life.