Fire Evacuation Design - online course Second Edition



Fire evacuation design is an online course given at Lund University. The aim of the course is that you should be able to understand the evacuation process in case of fire in a building by using human behaviour theories and performing evacuation simulations.


The following personnel will be the instructors of the course:
Enrico Ronchi (ER) - course responsible, lecturer
Daniel Nilsson (DN) - lecturer
Håkan Frantzich (HF) - lecturer


This course will include an overview of different behavioural theories and concepts concerning fire evacuation. The course will also include an overview of the evacuation models available on the market (from an impartial point of view) and it will focus on understanding their main modelling assumptions, strengths and limitations. You will also be able to identify 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 course is structured with sessions of one weekly hour of online interactive lectures for a total of 14 hours. The expected hourly course duration is evenly divided into two main modules:

  1. Human Behaviour in Fire
  2. Evacuation modelling.

The course will be carried out with weekly interactive lessons (i.e. one lecture every week), thus making the total duration of the course (including time for assignments) 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 participants to review them after they have been conducted. The participant will have the opportunity to choose if they want to take the entire course made of two modules (human behaviour in fire and evacuation modelling) or only a single module. A detailed schedule of lecture is provided below.

Module 1: Human Behaviour in Fire

Lecture 1.1: Human Behaviour in fire theories part 1 (1 hour) DN
Lecture 1.2: Human Behaviour in fire theories part 2 (1 hour) DN
Lecture 1.3: Movement through smoke (1 hour) - HF
Lecture 1.4: Affordance (1 hour) - DN
Lecture 1.5: Design of evacuation alarms (1 hour) - DN
Lecture 1.6: Panic (1 hour) – HF
Assignment 1: affordance analysis of an emergency exit (1 hour)

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: V&V (1 hour) - ER
Lecture 2.5: Review of evacuation models (1 hour) - ER
Lecture 2.6: FDS+Evac tutorial (1 hour) - ER
Assignment 2: Evacuation simulation of a building (1 hour)


In order to complete the course, the participant need to hand in the two assignments.

Assignment part 1: affordance analysis of an emergency exit

In the first assignment (Assignment part 1) you will take a picture of an emergency exit and analyse its design using the Theory of Affordances. A presentation about the Theory of Affordances will be given in the course and detailed information about the application of the theory will be provided during the course.

Assignment 1 shall be summarised in an individual report (max 5 pages including pictures).

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. 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 10 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 online platform.


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

Who should attend?

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.

We speak your language!

Despite the course is given in English, if you have enquiries about the course in another language, feel free to write to the course responsible Enrico Ronchi in Spanish or Italian!

Course price

The total cost for the entire course is equal to 10 000 SEK (≈1070 eur), excluding VAT. The participants can also choose to take only one of the two modules of the course for the cost of 7 000 SEK (≈750 euros) per module, excluding VAT.

Course duration

The course starts in November 2017 and ends in March 2018.

Deadline for registration

Registration deadline is October 15th.


If you have queries or comments about the course, do not hesitate to contact the course responsible Enrico Ronchi.
You can also contact Enrico with questions about administrative matters, scheduling, etc.
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