Comparison of emergency response abilities and evacuation performance involving vulnerable occupants in building fire situations

Minji Choi, Seulbi Lee, Sungjoo Hwang, Moonseo Park, Hyun Soo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Themobility impaired, thedeaf orhardofhearing, the blindor visually impaired, the cognitively impaired, and the elderly population are among several examples of groups categorized as particularly vulnerable to fire-related hazards. Given the severity of the threat that building fires pose for these vulnerable groups in terms of the different types of debilitation they experience, it is crucial to distinguish the respective attributes of each group and map out how such differences lead to differing performance levels during fire evacuations. To better gauge each group's capacity to cope with building fires, this study collected survey data from social service providers and staff members who provide care for vulnerable healthcare facility residents. The questionnaires were designed to assess each group's emergency response abilities and render them in quantifiable form in terms of perception, interpretation, decision-making, and mobility. The results of the survey serve as the input values for an evacuation simulation model which analyzes the evacuation performances (i.e., response and movement time) of vulnerable groups. The study concludes by proposing managerial strategies for the enhancement of fire safety in healthcare facilities on the basis of outcome analysis. Understanding the evacuation characteristics of disabled and vulnerable groups is expected to provide a foundation for the safety managers and staff members of relevant facilities to prepare for and deal with unexpected emergencies in an efficient and effective manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Building fire
  • Evacuation characteristics
  • High risk groups
  • Vulnerable population


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