Fire Technology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 273–279 | Cite as

Firefighter Wayfinding in Dark Environments Monitored by RFID

  • Gary Li-Kai Hsiao
  • Chieh-Hsin Tang
  • Te-Chin Huang
  • Ching-Yuan Lin


A building on fire is a smoky and dark environment both for firefighters and for civilians trapped inside. The faster firefighters find a way to search for and rescue civilians at a fire scene, the higher the survival rate of those trapped inside. This study presents a discussion on the characteristics of firefighter wayfinding under low visibility. The firefighters who participated in this study underwent testing at a training ground. The participants’ search and wayfinding paths were recorded using radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology. The results revealed that the mean searching time in each room decreased from 135 to 19 s as the firefighters became increasingly familiarized with the task. As expected, data also shows that smaller rooms contributed to shorter searching times. Most participants could manage a maximum of three rooms, with wayfinding confusion manifested after they had searched through the third room. These findings are crucial for the design of fireground strategies and training.


Firefighter Wayfinding RFID Dark environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Li-Kai Hsiao
    • 1
  • Chieh-Hsin Tang
    • 2
  • Te-Chin Huang
    • 3
  • Ching-Yuan Lin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyNew Taipei CityTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Department of Interior DesignTungnan UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Fire DepartmentNew Taipei City GovernmentNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of ArchitectureNational Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyNew Taipei CityTaiwan

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