Fire Technology

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 439–461 | Cite as

Helping People on Their Own Terms: Developing Inclusive Emergency Procedures

  • Steven M. V. GwynneEmail author


It is felt that given recent events, the performance of a population during an emergency procedure is less predictable than was once thought. This has potentially serious consequences during an evacuation, especially where structures have been designed on the basis of the successful application of emergency procedures. The reaction of the resident population to these procedures is sensitive to their normal use of the structure and the level to which the population is engaged and familiar with the procedure. A method is presented to develop procedures for non-emergency and emergency situations in partnership with the resident population, to take advantage of their indigenous knowledge, to improve their familiarity and to engage them in the safety process. This method is appropriate for situations where emergency procedures are normally applied and where the population is not transient; e.g., an office environment, where emergency procedures had been developed. It is felt that by adopting this approach, the population will be more receptive to the application of these procedures and that their response may then be more predictable. As an example of this method, a project framework is outlined in order to describe the approach in sufficient detail and to encourage future application and testing.


evacuation procedures circulation participation design methodology implementation 



I would like to acknowledge Dr. Peter Park for inspiring the approach adopted during this article and his generous guidance throughout. I would also like to acknowledge Erica Kuligowski, Dave Boswell and Bob Wheeler for their advice on the structure and content of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hughes Associates, Inc.BoulderUSA

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