Skip to main content

Evacuation experiment in a smoke filled tunnel

Karl Fridolf – Published 7 June 2011

Last week the Department of Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety performed a large evacuation experiment in Stockholm, involving 100 test participants recruited from the general public. The purpose of the experiment, which was carried out as a part of WP2 of the METRO project (, was (1) to study the effectiveness of different way-finding installations and (2) to collect data on human behaviour and movement speeds.

In the experiment test participants were sent into a dark and smoke filled tunnel, including acetic acid. They were told that there had been a fire and that they should find their way out. The tunnel was approximately 180 meters long and the only light source was that from emergency exit signs placed every eighth meters (as in Stockholm metro), see below.

Test participants entered the tunnel one by one and their behaviour was recorded using an infrared camera. The data still remains to be analyzed, but as a small teaser we now present one of the recordings. Special thanks to Stefan Svensson from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency who (without complaining even once) walked fully equipped up and down the tunnel 100 times.

View recording here