Fire Technology

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 3–26 | Cite as

Human Factors Associated with the Selection of Lifts/Elevators or Stairs in Emergency and Normal Usage Conditions

  • M. J. Kinsey
  • E. R. Galea
  • P. J. Lawrence


This paper presents an overview of human factors data collected via an online survey related to the use of lifts (elevators) and stairs during both circulation and evacuation scenarios. Survey participants were presented with a series of hypothetical situations and asked how they would behave. The survey was split into two broad sections, the first dealing with normal circulation usage of lifts/stairs and the second dealing with evacuation usage of lifts/stairs. Detailed demographic information about each participant was also collected. In total some 468 people from 23 countries completed the survey. An overview of the survey and initial results are presented in this paper.


Highrise building evacuation Human behaviour Human factors Evacuation modelling Survey Lifts Elevators 



Number of participants that gave a response to a specific question(s) or provided demographic information


Proportion people that would consider using a lift


Floor number that the people are located on above ground level


Probability (that the observed values are different from the expected due to chance)


Chi-square value


  1. 1.
    Sekizawa A, Ebihara M, Notake H, Kubota K, Nakano M, Ohmiya Y, Kaneko H (1999) Occupants’ behaviour in response to the high rise apartment fire in Hiroshima City. Fire Mater 23:297–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Averill JD, Mileti SD, Peacock RD, Kuligowski ED, Groner N, Proulx G, Reneke PA, Nelson HE (2005) Federal building and fire safety investigation of the world trade center disaster—occupant behavior, egress, and emergency communications. National Institute of standards, and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD NIST NCSTAR 1-7Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kinsey MJ, Galea ER, Lawrence PJ (2009) Investigating the use of lifts for high-rise building evacuation through computer simulation. In: Proceedings of the 4th international symposium on human behaviour in fire conference, pp 85–96Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Galea ER, Shields J, Canter D, Boyce K, Day R, Hulse L, Siddiqui A, Summerfield L, Marselle M, Greenall P. (2006) Methodologies employed in the collection, retrieval and storage of human factors information derived from first hand accounts of survivors of the WTC disaster of 11 September 2001. J Appl Fire Sci 15(4):253–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Klote JH, Alvord DM, Levin BM, Groner NE (1992) Feasibility and Design Considerations of Evacuation by Lifts. NISTIR 4870Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Groner NE, Levin BM (1992) Human factors considerations in the potential for using lifts in building emergency evacuation plans. NIST 94-656Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Heyes E, Spearpoint M (2009) Lifts for evacuation—human behaviour considerations. In: Proceedings of the 4th international symposium on human behaviour in fire conference, pp 73–84Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat,, cited 20/10/2009
  9. 9.
    Fetherstonhaugh D, Slovic P, Johnson S, Friedrich J (1997) Insensitivity to the value of human life: a study of psychophysical numbing. J Risk Uncertain 14(3):283–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Galea ER, Sharp G, Lawrence P (2008) Investigating the representation of merging behavior at the floor stair interface in computer simulations of multi-floor building evacuations. J Fire Prot Eng 19(4):291–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG)University of GreenwichLondonUK

Personalised recommendations