Fire Evacuation Design - online course, Third Edition



Fire evacuation design is an online course given at Lund University. The course introduces concepts of human behaviour and response to fire as well as their implementation in egress simulation tools. This course includes an overview of different behavioural theories and concepts concerning fire evacuation. The course also includes an overview of the evacuation models available on the market (from an impartial point of view) and it focuses on understanding their main modelling assumptions, strengths and limitations. You will also be able to identify the factors affecting the choice of the evacuation model that is more suitable for the evacuation scenarios of your interest. In addition, you will learn how to set up an evacuation scenario using an evacuation model of your choice. The course attendees will be able to choose between four models (FDS+Evac, Pathfinder, Simulex, STEPS).


The objectives of the course are expressed below in terms of the main learning outcomes associated with the course.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain RSET-models that are commonly used in guidelines and regulations
  • Describe different theories of human behaviour in fire (e.g. role-rule model, affiliation, social influence, affordances, help in emergencies, panic, etc.)
  • Understand the representation of evacuation movement 
  • Explain the basic assumptions behind evacuation models (space representation, modelling methods, uncertainties, verification and validation) and understand their main strengths and limitations
  • Apply evacuation models for the simulation of evacuation scenarios.


The course is structured with sessions of 1 weekly hour of online interactive lectures for a total of 14 hours. The lectures are given online. In the online portal of the course, you will find the link to access the lectures "live" as well as "on demand", i.e., the recordings of each lecture which will be made available in the online portal of the course.

The course is divided into two main modules: 1) Human Behaviour in Fire and 2) Evacuation modelling. The interactive lessons will take place weekly (i.e. one lecture every week) and the total duration of the course (including time for assignments) is five months (2.5 months for module 1 + 2.5 months for module 2). The interactive lectures will also be recorded in order to allow students to review them on demand after they have been conducted. A detailed schedule of lecture is provided below.

Module 1: Human Behaviour in Fire
Lecture 0: Introduction to the course (30 min) – ER 
Lecture 1.1: Human Behaviour in fire theories (1 hour) – HF
Lecture 1.2: Panic (1 hour) – HF 
Lecture 1.3: Theory of affordances and design of way-finding systems (1 hour) – HF 
Lecture 1.4: Movement through smoke (1 hour) – HF
Lecture 1.5: New technologies to study human behaviour in fire (1 hour) – SA
Lecture 1.6: Analysis of a fire evacuation incident + Assignment 1 (1 hour) – SA

Module 2: Evacuation modelling
Lecture 2.1: General concepts of evacuation modelling part 1 (1 hour) – ER
Lecture 2.2: General concepts of evacuation modelling part 2 (1 hour) – ER
Lecture 2.3: Uncertainties (1 hour) – ER
Lecture 2.4: Verification and Validation (1 hour) – ER
Lecture 2.5: Review of evacuation models (1 hour) – ER
Lecture 2.6: FDS+Evac tutorial (1.5 hours) – ER
Assignment 2: Evacuation simulation of a building (1 hour) – ER


The detailed course schedule can be found in a separate document in the LUVIT online portal.


In order to complete the course and receive the course diploma, the students need to hand in the two assignments. 

Assignment part 1: Analysis of a fire evacuation incident
In the first assignment (Assignment part 1) you will have to analyse a fire evacuation incident based on the human behaviour theories that you have learnt in the course. You will be given a list of fire evacuation incident to choose from or you will be able to choose one of your choice. A presentation about the use of human behaviour in fire theories to interpret fire evacuation incidents will be given in the course and detailed information about the application of the theories will be provided during the course. 

Assignment 1 shall be summarised in an individual report (max 8 pages including pictures) and handed in as a written report (.pdf file) to Silvia Arias (

Assignment part 2: Evacuation simulation of a building
In the second assignment (Assignment 2), you will perform a simulation of an evacuation in an assigned building using an evacuation model. The course attendees can choose which model to use among four models (FDS+Evac, Pathfinder, Simulex, STEPS) in relation to what models they are more interested in and they have access to. In case the course attendees do not have access to any of the commercial models (Pathfinder, Simulex, STEPS), they will run the case study with the open source evacuation model FDS+Evac developed by VTT (the evacuation module of the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator FDS). Detailed information for the calibration of the building case study input with the model of your choice will be provided to you in order to perform the assignment. Building plans will be provided to you, but you need to select design occupant scenarios, estimate the RSET using egress modelling and discuss the limitations of your assumptions/model. You will have to report the main results obtained with your simulations (e.g., total evacuation time, occupant evacuation time curve, etc.).

Assignment 2 shall be summarised in an individual report (max 8 pages including pictures).

Each assignment shall be handed in as a written report (.pdf file) to Enrico Ronchi ( Detailed information about the assignments and instructions will be given to you. You can also find information about the deadlines for the assignments in the course schedule.


The literature in the course consists mainly of papers and book chapters. The publications will be provided to you in the LUVIT online platform.


The following personnel will be the instructors of the course:
Enrico Ronchi (ER) - course responsible, lecturer
Håkan Frantzich (HF) – lecturer
Silvia Arias (SA) - lecturer


If you have queries or comments about the course, do not hesitate to contact us. These comments should be addressed to the course responsible Enrico Ronchi by email ( or by phone (+46 46 222 7694). You can also contact Enrico with questions about administrative matters, scheduling, etc. 

For any other issues concerning administration, invoicing, etc., please contact, the administrator of the course at Lund University Commissioned Education by email:

Target group

The course is aimed at all parties involved in the building industry and interested in fire evacuation design. This includes fire protection engineers/ consultancies, civil/ transportation engineers, regulatory authorities, architects, scientists, building inspectors and fire investigators.

Course duration

November 2018 - March 2019


LUVIT- online portal

Course price

The total cost for the entire course is equal to 12 000 SEK (≈1125 eur), excluding VAT. The participants can also choose to take only one of the two modules of the course for the cost of 9 000 SEK (≈844 euros) per module, excluding VAT.

Deadline for registration

Registration deadline is October 15th


If you have queries or comments about the course, do not hesitate to contact the course responible Enrico Ronchi.
+46 46 222 7694
You can also contact Enrico with questions about administrative matters, scheduling, etc.
For any other issues concerning administration, invoicing, etc., please contact the administrator of the course at Lund University Commissioned Education by email: 
Lund University Commissioned Education (LUCE) is Lund University's department for commissioned education and competence development for professionals. With the latest science as a base we develop and sell courses, programs and seminars in a close cooperation with organizations, companies and local, nationall and international authorities. Our educations are performed by teachers and scientists at Lund University - a guarantee for subject-related width, scientific depth and modern pedagogy. You're welcome to contact us for more information! Phone 046 - 222 0707 or send a mail to either or Lund University Commissioned Education Box 117, 221 00 Lund.