ENFE615-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Human Behaviour in Fire

15 points
Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdraw Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty: Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


Examination and interaction of the individual with the fire-created environment. Behaviour of building occupants relative to their awareness, actions and movements. How human behaviour issues are incorporated in building design.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of the course, you will be able to understand and apply human behaviour in fire theories. You will also recognize the importance of demographic factors for evacuation. Furthermore, you will be able to understand and apply different egress modelling approaches, both computer models and hand calculation models, and their limitations.


Timetable Note

This course will run as a block course on

31 July-3 August

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Daniel Nilsson

Guest Lecturer

Ruggiero Lovreglio (Lund University)


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignment 1 Report (<2 pages) 5%
Assignment 2 Report (< 5 pages) 15%
Assignment 3 reprot (< 15 pages) 30%
On-line exam 20%
Lab 3 Report (< 10 pages) 30%

In the course, there are a number of activities that are compulsory and need to be completed in order to pass. Not all activities contribute to your final grade, but you still need to complete them all in order to pass the course.

Table 3. Activities that need to be completed, but that do not contribute to the final grade

Assignment 4 Solution of problem
Assignment 5 Spread sheet
Lab 1 Simple report (template provided)
Lab 2 Simple report (template provided)
Seminar Quizzes and participation at seminar

The on-line exam, which is given in the final course week, will consist mainly of theoretical questions, but simple calculation questions may also be included. Before the exam, there will be an opportunity to ask questions, i.e., an on-line consultation.

There is a total of three lab exercises in the course, namely three computer labs. The three lab exercises are:
i) Lab 1 – Test of a grid-based egress model
ii) Lab 2 – Test of continuous egress models
iii) Lab 3 – Advanced egress modelling

Two of the lab exercises (Lab 1 and Lab 2) will be performed during the block part of the course, i.e., in the computer labs at University of Canterbury. You will do the third lab exercise (Lab 3) on your own using your own computer.

The first laboratory exercise (Lab 1) focuses on modelling of evacuation with a grid-based model, e.g., STEPS (choice of model to be confirmed). In the second laboratory exercise (Lab 2) a continuous model, namely Simulex, will be used. A very simple report is handed in for Lab 1 and Lab 2 respectively.

In the third (Lab 3), you will perform more advanced egress modelling using a model of your choice. However, we will only be able to give you support if you choose one of the models included in Lab 1 or Lab 2. An extensive written report is required for Lab 3. In this report, you will not only need to explain your modelling assumptions, but also your selection of occupant scenarios.

There are five individual assignments in the course. All assignments must be completed for a passing grade. The five assignments are:
1) Assignment 1 – Initial investigation of the ‘panic’ concept
2) Assignment 2 – Exit Design and the Theory of Affordances (individual report)
3) Assignment 3 – Analysis of a Fire Incident
4) Assignment 4 – Crowd Calculation Exercise
5) Assignment 5 – Toxicity assessment

In the first assignment (Assignment 1), you will explore the concept of ‘panic’ and its relevance for fire evacuation. As part of the assignment, you will ask people in your surrounding how they would define panic. You will also read relevant publications, which present different definitions of panic. The assignment shall be summarised in a short report (max 2 pages) in which you need to answer a number of pre-defined questions.

In the second assignment (Assignment 2), you will take a picture of an emergency exit and analyse the design using the Theory of Affordances. A lecture about the Theory of Affordances will be given in the block part of the course and you will also practice application of the theory. Assignment 1 shall be summarised in an individual report (max 5 pages including images).

In the third assignment (Assignment 3), you will analyse a fire accident using the theories from the course. For examples, theories about exit choice behaviour can be used to explain people’s choice of exit, etc. You shall choose a fire accident for your analysis. Assignment 3 shall be summarised in a report (max 15 pages excluding images) where you describe the accident and apply the theories. In the report, you also need to include a discussion and draw relevant conclusions.

The fourth assignment (Assignment 4) involves calculation of crowd movement using the theory presented by Predtetschenski and Milinski. Assignment 4 shall be handed in as hand or computer written solutions that clearly present the assumptions, calculations and answers to the problems (no page limit, but no unnecessary text).

In the fifth and final assignment (Assignment 5), you will perform a tenability assessment for one person evacuating through smoke in a road tunnel. The tenability assessment will be performed using a spread sheet, e.g., Excel or similar. You will include the influence of reduced visibility on movement speed (if relevant). You need to hand in your spread sheet, which must be easy to follow and contain the relevant explanations/assumptions.

One seminar is included during the block part of the course. The topic of the seminar is ‘ethics’. Before the seminar, you shall read selected publications, view on-line lectures and perform short preparatory on-line quizzes. A passing grade requires that you do all preparatory activities (publications, lectures, quizzes) and actively take part during the seminar, i.e., present your view. More information about the seminar can be found in LEARN.

Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/exams/ within five days of the assessment. Where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the course co-ordinator and an application to the Examinations Office is not required. Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.

Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course.
Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,059.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

All ENFE615 Occurrences

  • ENFE615-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018