Human Behavior During an Evacuation of a Large Office Building Adjacent a Fire Site
In 2017 in Tokyo, more than thousand occupants of a seven-story office building evacuated due to fire located at an adjacent site. Because the fire did not occur on their own site, the evacuation was spontaneous and, therefore, not performed according to a normal evacuation manual. This paper investigates the human behavior in this evacuation case, especially focusing on the decision-making process. To do this, the authors conducted face-to-face interviews with four people from the organization who made the decision to let employees evacuate and forty-one employees who evacuated. The major findings of the study are: (1) visual observation of fire through windows influences the occupants’ evacuation strategy; (2) occupants tended to postpone leaving the workplace until they received an explicit evacuation cue from others; and (3) multiple occupants chose stairs by taking into consideration that the fire was not in their building. Since the fire compartments had not yet been built and there was no immediate danger to life, these results can also be applied to the evacuation of non-fire floors in a building fire.
KeywordsEvacuation Human behavior Decision-making Interview Office building
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