European Fire Protection Consultants


In fire prevention the saying 'prevention is better than extinguishing' is often used. But if you want to prevent harm and suffering you will also need to think about the behaviour of people in emergency situations. What happens if the alarm goes off? Where do people run to and is there sufficient space to flee there? With large fires there appears to be many victims as a result of oppression by panic and lack of sufficient escape routes. Indeed, even if there is no real fire, massive flight behaviour can lead to injuries and deaths. EFPC uses computer simulations to see if the building is well equipped for safe evacuation processes.


Safely evacuate to the nearest exit

To create an integrated approach to fire and evacuationbehaviour, we are increasingly using computersimulations to map the complex dynamics of crowds. Not only useful in buildings (for example 10 000 visitors at a dance event in an exhibition complex), but also for the evacuation of trains, parks, stadiums and even entire districts. The simulation determines the required clearance time per 1000 visitors and it is reliable enough for Buildingcode calculations.

The advantages of simulations are obvious:

  • they assist in determining the optimal safety measures in a building;
  • they provide insight into bottlenecks in the flow of pedestrian traffic within a building;
  • they make the process of evacuation clear so that adjustments can be made;
  • it is cost effective because no adjustments are needed afterwards.

It happens on a regular basis that as a result of numerous simulations some important architectural changes appear.

Therefore it is, in particular with new constructions, of great importance to carry out simulations of escape behaviour in an early stage of the design-process. This can save huge costs at a later stage. For existing buildings simulations can also  reduce costs, because we can demonstrate properly what is really needed to make the situation safe.In some cases, the movement of a wall portion or adding an additional door is sufficient enough. Therefore a simulation of the evacuation proces prevents unnecessary radical (and therefore costly) measures.