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Users ReportUser Introduction/Vol.93
Special feature of Europe users - Opening interview
Ask Prof. Galea, the world authority of evacuation analysis !

Started to develop "EXODUS" after the airplane accident in 1985
Evacuation analysis considering the human psychology and behavior patterns

Information of laboratory
The University of Greenwich Fire Safety Engineering Group
URL: http://fseg.gre.ac.uk
Location: Greenwich Campus, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London
Research field: Fire safety engineering

"EXODUS" which allows the simulation of the evacuation path and evacuation time in the disaster such as fire and flood has been used for the design of a wide range of objects from the buildings including building, station, stadium to the airplane and ship. The developer of this software is Prof. Edwin R Galea from the University of Greenwich. We asked him how he started to create this software which allows the realistic analysis with the consideration of not only the physical phenomenon but also the human psychology, the difference of culture, and individual behavior characteristic. In addition, he spoke to us on the latest research theme in the evacuation analysis field (Interviewed by the Construction IT journalist, Ryuta Ieiri)

----Why did you start to develop EXODUS?

Prof. Galea Currently, I am in charge of the director of Fire safety engineering group, University of Greenwich, UK. There are 32 staffs in this laboratory. We have developed the evacuation simulation software "EXODUS" and the fire simulation software "SMARTFIRE".

I majored two fields in the university. I studied the modeling of the stars for doctor's degree. This is the study of the representation of the stars considering the rotation of the stars with the computational fluid dynamics(CFD) and the magnetofluid dynamics.

After that, I worked for the steel company as an engineer who analyzes the magnetofluid CFD. I performed the simulation of the process of "continuous cast" where the steel melted from the steel furnace is continuously processed to slab.

In addition, I researched on the generation process of the sun spot using magnetofluid dynamics analysis in University of St Andrews.

When I was transferred to the University of Greenwich, the accident occurred in 1985. The fire occurred while Boeing 737 air plane was on the airstrip in the Manchester airport, and 55 people lost their lives. The airplane is designed for the passengers, crews to evacuate in 90 seconds. Despite this, I was wondering if 55 people died. This accident made me start the development of the software which became the prototype of EXODUS.

Prof. Galea explaining the use of EXODUS(at FORUM8 Tokyo head office)

----Why couldn't they all evacuate in 90 seconds?

Prof. Galea In the accident of the Boeing 737, one of two who are sitting next to each other was alive, and another was not. Hence, I surveyed the accident by asking details of the situation to the remaining survivors. An unbelievable thing was discovered.

The survivor could not move from his seat as the person who was sitting next to him did not move. As a result, he crossed over the seat and went to the emergency exit. Many young people did the same thing.

I collected the videos of "90 seconds test" from the airplane manufactures such as Boeing and Douglas Aircraft Company, and analyzed how people escaped one by one.

In the result, it was found that many people hesitated to jump into the escape chute, and the escape time was extended. This elapsed time changed depending on the size of exit whether it was for two people or one, and how to use it whether people could go down directly from the exit to the land or they need to go up to the main wing first. Hence, it was found the elapsed time and the number of people who could escape was represented with "normal distribution".

When a fire occurrs, one cannot simply calculate the number of people that can escape from the emergency exit per minute by calculating the area and width of it.

The software which considers the human psychology and behavior in the emergency condition was completed as "Air EXODUS" in 1992. The accuracy of analysis matched to the actual results. Next, I focused on the application this functions to the building and ship. Unlike airplane, there are multiple floors and people needs to select various routes and steps for the evacuation so that the evacuation route becomes more complex. In addition, in case of the ship, the evacuation speed changes when the ship is tilted to one side. Therefore, it required a more complex model as compared to the airplane.

Hence, "building EXODUS" for the buildings and "maritime EXODUS" for the ships were developed.

On the other hand, "SMARTFIRE" which allows the simulation of the movement of the fire smoke in the building and ship the fire with the computational fire dynamics was developed.
Currently, EXODUS has been used in the design of various buildings and ships. For example, the stadium of Beijing Olympic, the statue of liberty in NewYork, and the airbus A380.

It has been used in 35 countries until now. Most of them were the design of buildings and ships to which the performance design was applied not the simple buildings and facilities which can be designed with just the design criteria.

Site of the fire occurred in the subway in Korea, 2003. People who escaped immediately made up only 7%, and most people did not move. The movement of the crowd of people in the open space (Left) and the analysis result of EXODUS (Right) were very similar quantitatively. (Documents provided by : Prof.Edwin R Galea)

----I see. It cannot calculate the people's flow in the emergency condition with the simple theory just like the fluid, can we?

Prof. Galea No, however, first I have to think the underlying cause that people do not try to move in the time they should escape. We call it "Response time". Generally, the evacuation time is considered based on the assumption that people tends to move at once the accident occurs, in other words, the response time is zero. However, the actual behavior is largely different.

I have done the hearing investigation of more than 1000 people who are the survivors of the fire and other accidents. The data of behavior was registered in "ASK database".

For example, I surveyed 300 of 9/11 survivors for three years, and found some people did nothing 15 minutes after the outbreak of the accident.

The culture difference largely affects the evacuation behavior such as response time, hence the organization "Bureau of Security and Culture" performed the evacuation experiments in the university library in four countries, Czech, Poland, Turkey, and UK to study it. 50 hidden video cameras were arranged in each library on the day before experiment, very late at night, and it sounded a fire alarm suddenly. We recorded and analyzed how the student acted in the emergency situation.

It was expected that the students in UK started to escape first; however, it was the students in Turkey. The reason is not clear yet, but it may be because they have experienced the big earthquake in the past. The second was Poland, the 3rd was UK, and the fourth was Czech.

According to the investigation, it was found that the students who have never heard the evacuation signal were 70% in UK, and 90% in Czech.

----The culture and national character affect the behavior of people in emergency situation.

Prof. Imamura Yes. For example, one of the things which affect the movement of the crowd in the urban area is the escalator. It is very interesting that the percentage of people who are walking and stopping on the escalator is depending on the country. According to the investigation in Barcelona in Spain, Shanghai in China, London in UK, 90% of people are stopping in Shanghai as well as many people are walking in London. Many people tend to walk in Barcelona, but not so many as in London.

As for the fire evacuation on the high-rise building, the number of people using the elevator affects the result of evacuation simulation. The points are the waiting time and the level they are staying.

To survey it, I investigated via Internet globally. It was assumed that the safety of elevator was secured in the fire condition.

In the result, one of three replied that he uses the elevator. Looking at it country by country, 1/2 in US, 1/4 in China, 1/3 in UK, and less than 1/3 in Germany replied yes. The cultural differences are reflected here as well.

Looking at it floor by floor, generally, people at higher level tends to use the elevator. However, it was found that 20% of people never uses elevator even they are in more than 30th floor.

The number of people using the elevator decreases based on the waiting time. Many people selected the stairs after 10 minutes, and 15 minutes are the maximum for waiting the elevator.

EXODUS covers the behavior pattern based on the culture and nationality as data.

Passenger flow simulation in Nakameguro station.
The flow of crowd is visualized by linking EXODUS with UC-win/Road.

----EXODUS is not the software for simulating the objects with the pure physical law such as fluid dynamics and structural dynamics, but the software for analyzing with the consideration of the human psychology and behavior based on the different culture and nationality, isn't it?

Prof. Galea That's right. It considers the dominant arm and the living habit as well. For example, when the evacuation route is divided into left and right, there is the specific rule which they will choose. According to the investigation of the people in 36 countries, the 64% of righty choose the right path. The percentage changed depending on the traffic rule. In the country of right-hand traffic such as US and China, 75% of people chose the right path, and in the country of left-hand traffic such as Japan and UK, 60% of people chose the right path.

According to a broadcasting of this story by BBC, UK, I received the mail from an experienced member of the rescue team in the forest, NewZealand. They could find the person who got lost in a forest by choosing the right path in 70-80% of cases. He was wondering it, and understood the reason because of my story.

In the new version of EXODUS which will be released in future, the function of "Way Finding" will be mounted. Generally, the evacuation is performed based on the information sign, the minimum distance, and the information from other people.

When the way finding is turned OFF, the crowd tries to evacuate through the minimum distance path. However, if it is turned ON, some people are evacuating through different path other than the minimum distance path.

----In this Great East Japan Earthquake, the big damage was caused by Tsunami. To reduce the damage of Tsunami, can we use EXODUS ?

Prof. Galea I am not a professional of Tsunami, but I think EXODUS can be used for the evacuation from Tsunami. In this case, we need to develop the function for dealing with the large-scaled size of data such as several kilometers square.

We can use EXODUS for the planning of the evacuating simulation and the evacuating strategy of Tsunami by setting the position of evacuation center, evacuation path, how to alarm, and response time.

It is required to consider the combination with not only the people's behavior but the movement of vehicles at that time. For example, it can considered that the simulation method of the movement of people and vehicle by linking EXODUS with UC-win/Road.

As for the response time, I don't know the Tsunami case, but BESECU has the data of the evacuation of flood in Europe.

----Prof. Galea, you have performed the hearing investigation to the survivors, is there any specific skill for it..?

Prof. Galea When the large-scaled disaster occurred, the social network services(SNS) such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube and the portable phone function as the multi directional communication method between the disaster area and government, and the exchange of the information such as GIS can be performed by the movies and photos. People are familiar with this kind of communication tools so that they can be easily used in the disaster situation.

However, when the disaster occurs, the most important thing is escaping to the safe place. The transmission of information is the second step. In 9/11, many people in the world trade center issued "SOS" first by the portable phone. This is the wrong order. In this case, they needed to escape from the building first.

----Is there any method for saving the life by applying EXODUS to the existing buildings and facilities ?

Prof. Galea For the people who need to provide the order in the large disaster such as the people in government, it is very important to have the training to make a judgment in the emergency situation. As it is a little difficult for them to have an actual experience, they need to practice how to provide the order to the evacuee, and the rescue team based on the ever-changing condition using UC-win/Road and EXODUS.

For example, they can practice whether they send the firefighters to the 25th floor of the building where the fire occurs. The high-accuracy model and the high quality representation method allow the very effective training.

In two years ago, I simulated the above mentioned fire accident of B373 in the Manchester airport again using SMARTFIRE and EXODUS. The result showed from 50 to 61 people died, and 57 people died in the average of some experiments. Nowadays, we can make a prediction the result with a high degree of accuracy by the position of the fire origin and emergency exit.

As of the range of EXODUS in future, it will be important to verify the accident actually happened, not only the design of the facilities. In addition, we can imagine the use for the countermeasure for the terrorism using the chemical weapon. For example, it can study the countermeasure for the terrorist assuming the damage when the poisonous gas is pumped from the air-conditioning system in the subway station and office building.

----Thank you very much for today.

(Interviewed/written by : Ryuta Ieiri)