Behavioral Study: Emergency Evacuation Study
An evaluation of evacuation intentions and behaviors of individuals in emergency situations
To evaluate the individual, organizational, and structural factors that act as facilitators or barriers to evacuation behavior; to evaluate environmental cues to action that impact the individual’s intention to evacuate; to assess the impact that personal attitudes, beliefs, and perception of risk/danger have on an individual’s evacuation intentions; and to assess the impact that group behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of risk/danger have on an individual’s intention to evacuate.
Who would use the data?
Emergency managers, structural engineers, occupational health and safety specialists, building code developers, fire safety specialists, industry executives, organizational psychologists, the disaster research community, city planners, and policy makers who must prepare for the rapid evacuation of individuals from buildings.
- What individual factors (i.e., health status) served as facilitators or barriers to your evacuation experience?
- What organizational factors (i.e., safety climate, training) served as facilitators or barriers to your evacuation experience?
- What structural factors (i.e., lighting, exits) served as facilitators or barriers to your evacuation experience?
- What factors in the external environment influenced the decision to (or not to) evacuate?
- What personal attitudes and beliefs influenced the decision to (or not to) evacuate?
- How did personal perception of risk/danger influence the decision to (or not to) evacuate?
- What impact did a surrounding group’s behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and perception of risk/danger have on your decision to (or not to) evacuate?
- Target population: Individuals who have been faced with the decision to evacuate from a structure in an emergency situation.
- Study design: Retrospective narrative analysis of in-depth interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires.
- Primary data source: In depth interviews, focus groups, and survey questionnaires with individuals who have been faced with the decision to evacuate from a structure in an emergency situation.
- Secondary data source: Previous disaster studies documenting narrative accounts; secondary accounts of individuals behaviors when faced with the decision to evacuate from a structure in an emergency situation.
Type of building structure, floors that were evacuated, type, number of fire stair wells, use of elevators, response time of rescue personnel, length of time to evacuate, length of time to decide to evacuate, number of prior drills, type and extent of fire safety, life safety training, safety climate, individual variables (e.g., handicap status, health status, age, etc.), barriers to response time, etc.
Immediate up to two years following the event.
State and local health departments, state and local emergency response agencies, life safety code regulators, Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Nursing, local building agencies and authorities, and CDC, NCIPC staff.
IRB certification will be needed. Steps should be taken to ensure the health and well being of evacuees since their participation may place them at potential risk for mental distress as they review the events.
- Page last reviewed: February 1, 2013
- Page last updated: June 2, 2003
- Content source:
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Office of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health