Academy Users Report
Lab. for Architecture & Urban Safety and Security
Sciences (LAUSS), Department of Fire Protection
Engineering, College of Engineering,
Pukyong National University

High level analysis technology combining with buildingEXODUS and SMARTFIRE
Figures out study cases of fire by using simulation

Department of Fire Protection Engineering,
College of Engineering,
Pukyong National University

URL: http://www.pknu.ac.kr/
Location: Busan, Korea
Research and development contents: A national university formed in July 1996 from the merger of the National Fisheries University of Busan and the Busan National University of Technology. In addition to the Engineering college, it has a variety of faculties such as Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Business Administration, Fisheries Sciences, and Environmental and Marine Sciences and Technology.

Prof. Jun-Ho Choi
Director of the Lab for Architecture &
Urban Safety and Security Sciences (LAUSS)
/ Assistant professor of the Department of
Fire Protection Engineering,
College of Engineering,
Pukyong National University

Prof. Jun-Ho Choi works as the director of the Lab for Architecture & Urban Safety and Security Sciences (LAUSS) and the assistant professor of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, College of Engineering in Pukyong National University. He is also involved in the analysis of accident and a variety of fire safety projects, and is one of the foremost researcher in this field in Korea. He delivered a lecture at the "EXODUS SMARTFIRE International Disaster Prevention seminar" held by FORUM8 on 30th June, 2017.

It was about ten years ago when prof Choi started to use the "buildingEXODUS", an evacuation simulation software for architecture and civil engineering, and a fire simulation software "SMARTFIRE".
"These software has the high precise analysis results because they are developed based on the actual fire accidents, and they are always updated according to the researches. That is the reason why I introduced these software", says prof. Choi.

Prof. Jun-Ho Choi speeches at the
Disaster Prevention Seminar" on 30th June.
Disaster Prevention Seminar" was held
at a hotel in Busan.

The subway fire accident in 2003 leads him to the fire safety research. "Why could not the tragedy be prevented?"

In 2003, when prof. Choi was a college student, an arson attack was happened at Daegu subway and nearly 200 people were killed. "When I wondered why such an enormous damage had not been prevented, I started to aim to enter the fire safety engineering field", he looks back.

Prof. Choi’s motivation is similar to that of Prof. Edwin Galea's, the developer of the buildingEXODUS and SMARTFIRE, Fire Safety Engineering Group, University of Greenwich. The reason that prof Galea aimed to study the fire safety engineering was the engine fire accident on a Boeing 737 during takeoff from the Manchester International Airport that claimed 55 lives.

Professor Choi worked as a visiting study fellow at the Prof. Galea's lab.
He researches widely.
He conducts evacuation simulations based on the actual ship sinking accident and fire accident at the karaoke store by combining the buildingEXODUS and SMARTFIRE. Further to that, he places importance on experiments with subjects in order to reduce errors between simulation results and actual evacuation behaviors.

Click to enlarge the image.
Fire escape simulation at a karaoke store Analysis combining "buildingEXODUS and"SMARTFIRE"

So far, he has written 19 English published papers, 28 papers registered by the research foundation, 61 overseas papers, and 66 domestic papers. These studies show his energetic research activities.

Integrate fire simulation and evacuation simulation
Enhance the safety of buildings by high precision analysis

In Korea, the major way of fire escape simulation is the "non-coupling method" that designers simulate fire and evacuation separately and judge the safety by comparing both results.

However, this method easily causes differences by designer and often puts emphasis on the poor visibility due to smoke as the influence of fire.

By using the analysis combining the buildingEXODUS and SMARTFIRE, not only smoke but radiant heat and harmful materials can be considered. The analysis considering the limitation against evacuation behaviors achieves a more realistic and high precise result. Differences by designers are also eliminated.

In order to improve the accuracy of the fire and refuge simulation, it is necessary to acquire data such as behaviors and moving speed during evacuation.

In 2014, prof. Choi conducted an evacuation experiment for 117 subjects by using a full-sized maze with eight intersections. The purpose of the experiment was collecting the data for each intersection of subjects' walking speed, direction of movement, and time for decision making according to age and sex.

Click to enlarge the image.
The maze used for the experiment

Click to enlarge the image. Click to enlarge the image.
(left) Helmet with eye tracker used to measure eye movements
(right) Cameras at junctions recorded the subjects' evacuation behaviors.

 Leadership and door opening direction also affect evacuation time

He carries out questionnaire to conduct deeper analyses on evacuees' actual emergency behaviors and psychological states such as time until they started refuge behavior, leader selection, movement speed according to the density of smoke, and choice of the escape way among elevators, escalators, and stairs.

"The fire safety engineering consists not only of technologies. We also have to attach weight on social and experiential sides", he says.

He investigates evacuation behaviors in detail such as door types and opening direction, colour of the guide lights to the emergency exit, positional relationship between the guide sign and the doorknob. To gain these detailed data, he continues his research to increase data accuracy by utilizing refuge experiment data collecting system in addition to conducting on-site experiment.

<Inconsistency, I> <Neutral, N> <Consistency, C>
Experiment of effect caused by position gap between doorknob and evacuation sign

Prof. Choi who takes over the Korean fire safety engineering field by utilizing the computer simulation is aiming at creating database.

Prof. Choi talks his dream. "There are a large difference between evacuation behavior of Koreans and Japanese. For example, Koreans wait only for one or two minutes for elevators coming. The next goal is to create Korean data by myself for analyses by buildingEXODUS etc".

Test by measuring brain wave
(Up&Coming '17 Fall issue)