Structures are currently designed and constructed in accordance with prescriptive
and performance-based (PBD) methodologies to ensure a certain level of
occupant safety during fire emergencies. The performance-based approach requires
the quantification of both ASET (Available Safe Egress Time) and RSET (Required
Safe Egress Time) to determine the degree of safety provided. This article focuses on
the RSET side of the equation, for which a fire protection or fire safety engineer
would use some type of egress modelling approach to estimate evacuation performance.
Often, simple engineering equations are applied to estimate the RSET value.
Over time, more sophisticated computational tools have appeared—that go beyond
basic flow calculations; e.g. simulating individual agent movement. Irrespective of the
approach adopted, appropriate and accurate representation of human behavior in
response to fire within these approaches is limited, mainly due to the lack of a comprehensive
conceptual model of evacuee decision-making and behavior during fire
emergencies. This article initially presents the set of behavioral statements, or minitheories,
currently available from various fire and disaster studies, organized using
the overarching theory of decision-making and human behavior in disasters. Once
presented, guidance is provided on how these behavioral statements might be incorporated
into an evacuation model, in order to better represent human behavior in fire
within the safety analysis being performed. The intent here is to improve the accuracy
of the results produced by performance-based calculations and analyses.