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Ascending stair evacuation

There is a trend to build more, longer and deeper underground facilities for, e.g., underground transportation systems. These facilities do, however, introduce new challenges in terms of fire safety. As an example, people may be required to evacuate long vertical distances in case of fire (termed ascending stair evacuation).

Due to the lack of previous research on the topic of ascending stair evacuation, todays methods and models that are used in the fire safety design process include great uncertainties on the process assessed. A research project was therefore inititaed in October 2013 with the purpose to study and quantify the expected evacuation scearnio that will arise during ascending stair evacuation. In a number of evacuation experiments in tall buildings as well as escalators, the goal is to study the potential effect of, for example, fatigue and phsyical exhaustion on the walking speed and related behaviour. The overall goal of the project is to increase the reliablity of future evacuation assessments.

The research project is a multidisciplinary project, incorporating researchers from different disciplines (fire safety engineering and physiology) as well as practictioners with great experience of fire safety design. The total budget is approximately 2 MSEK (~ €230 000), and the research project will end in September 2015.


Enrico Ronchi, Associate Senior Lecturer (project lead)

Kalev Kuklane, Associate Professor

Mattias Delin, Fire Protection Engineer at DeBrand Sverige AB

Johan Norén, Fire Protection Engineer at Briab - Brand & Riskingenjörerna AB

Contact persons

Enrico Ronchi, project lead
+46 46 222 76 94

Silvia Arias









Delin, M., Norén, J. (2014). Fysisk ansträngning vid utrymning uppför trappor - Kunskapsöversikt. Lund: Avdelningen för brandteknik.

Norén, J., Delin, M., Fridolf, K., 2014. Ascending Stair Evacuation: What do We Know? Transportation Research Procedia 2, 774–782. doi:10.1016/j.trpro.2014.09.087

Ronchi, E., Norén, J., Delin, M., Kuklane, K., Halder, A., Arias, S., Fridolf, K., 2015. Ascending  evacuation in long stairways: Physical exertion, walking speed and behaviour (Report 3192). Division of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.