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Report will contribute to making escape from buildings easier

07 October, 2009

A new ISO technical report on how people behave when fire breaks out will help in designing safer buildings that make escape easier and reduce exposure to flames and heat.

SO/TR 16738:2009, Fire-safety engineering – Technical information on methods for evaluating behaviour and movement of people, provides information on engineering methods used for the evaluation of life-safety aspects of fire-safety engineering design for built environments, including structures such as tunnels, underground complexes, ships and vehicles.

It gives advice on the evaluation, quantification and management of human behaviour, particularly escape behaviour, during a fire emergency, as well as on the evaluation of people's susceptibility to the effects of exposure to fire and fire effluents.

For all scenarios, it is important to be able to assess the likely behavioural responses, either as part of the original design, or as part of a fire risk assessment. In particular, ISO/TR 16738:2009 provides guidance on:

- The evaluation of escape and evacuation times from buildings both for occupants not directly exposed to the fire or fire effluents and also for exposed occupants on the influence of fire, smoke and heat on  required safe-escape time (RSET)
- The evaluation of available safe-escape time (ASET) in relation to the human capacity of to resist fire and heat.

David Purser, Convenor and Project leader of the working group which developed the technical report comments: "The basis of life-safety design consists of provisions for the protection of occupants from fire exposure and provision for means of escape.

ISO/TR 16738:2009 will be useful for building design professionals, as well as regulators and fire safety professionals on the engineering methods available for evacuation strategies and life safety aspects when designing buildings."

ISO 16738:2009, Fire-safety engineering – Technical information on methods for evaluating behaviour and movement of people, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 92, Fire safety, subcommittee SC 4, Fire safety engineering, and is available from ISO national member institutes.

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