People in Fires: The Real Story

By: Erica Kuligowske, Fire Protection Engineer Enginering Laboratory National Institute of Standards and Technology Imagine that a serious fire develops in a high-rise building, initiating a full building evacuation. With ample time before the situation becomes dangerous, all occupants immediately take note of the information provided by the fire alarm, completely comprehend the situation, and move calmly and efficiently in single file lines to their nearest exit, familiar to them from recent and regular fire drills. Since all occupants in the building are physically-fit and fully capable of efficient stair usage, they evacuate safely and quickly via the stairs, leaving them open for us...

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