Bulletin 133 March 2010 Individuals Reacting To Fire
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 03:21:24

In a life-threatening situation, such as a fire with smoke and toxic fumes, people are at risk because their behavior is unpredictable. Although most victims of fire have attempted to escape, studies have shown that situations where a group is in danger can result in panic and infectious fear. This suggests that any arrangement enabling people caught in a fire to exit in an orderly manner is likely to increase their chances of survival. Following the approved fire plan and conducting training in evacuation procedures is the key to successfully removing people from danger. The existence of standard measures reduces uncertainty for individuals reacting to fire, a bomb threat or other emergency. Your personnel are more likely to move quickly and effectively during evacuations if they are well-practiced and psychological obstacles are minimized.

Emergency Leadership

It is not easy to control locations where a large percentage of the population does not consist of regular occupants. There are often news reports of fires with loss of life in places such as hotels, nightclubs, dance emporiums, sporting grandstands and facilities for the aged. The workers in these situations need even greater ability to stay calm, follow a set course of action and provide emergency leadership. Providing training in standard procedures and clear escape routes are the key to minimizing risk of injury and potential loss of life. Staff familiar with evacuation procedures must be able to take charge, provide the leadership necessary to prevent panic, and guide occupants through the evacuation process. The presence of trained floor wardens in each area of the building will ensure that an evacuation can proceed safely and efficiently.

Reaction to Fire

In a recent study completed by fire behavioral experts, individual reactions to a fire situation could be categorized as follows:
i) 5 percent of those exposed to a fire situation were not prone to panic: they awaited informed advice before taking action.
ii) 20 percent were likely to panic: they acted alone and attempted to leave as quickly as possible.
iii) 75 percent were influenced by those disposed to panic: they likely reacted incorrectly unless a leader emerged within the first few minutes to direct them.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.

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