Disaster survivors sought for evacuation study

October 13, 2010

A British expert on human behaviour in major disasters has called for survivors, especially those of the 2005 London bombings, to come forward to help improve evacuation procedures.

Professor Ed Galea, from the University of Greenwich in southeast London, said he wants to hear from people who have experience of emergency evacuations.

"It is only by talking to survivors that we can really understand how people react to a crisis and significant dangers in the real world," Galea said Wednesday.

"Then we can improve the design of buildings and all forms of public transport, and their evacuation procedures, to save lives.

"One thing is clear -- Hollywood films consistently get it wrong. These inaccuracies tend to shape the way many people -- even safety professionals -- believe people actually react in ," Galea said.

The expert particularly wants to hear from people who survived the July 7, 2005 London bombings in which suicide attackers struck three Underground trains and a bus.

The long-awaited inquests into the 52 deaths, which got under way Monday, heard through eyewitness testimony how people reacted to the situation.

Some instinctively fled the scene, while others stayed to try to help the casualties.

Galea's research is part of 1.8-million-pound (2.85-million-dollar, two-million-euro) European Union-funded project investigating emergency evacuation behaviour and the effect of cultural influences in a disaster.

"We also need to find out if people from different countries and cultures react differently in these crises, so that we can ensure cultural differences are incorporated into evacuation procedures and our modelling of building evacuation," he said.

Explore further: Hurricanes: People refused to leave homes

Related Stories

Hurricanes: People refused to leave homes

December 1, 2005

A University of Central Florida survey of emergency managers indicates many people ignore the threat of hurricanes and refuse to leave their homes.

Saving lives through smarter hurricane evacuations

August 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars could potentially be saved if emergency managers could make better and more timely critical decisions when faced with an approaching hurricane. Now, an ...

Stairwell evacuation study finds 'what we know we don't know'

March 25, 2009

Most of the time, we use the stairs in buildings—especially in high-rise structures—only as a back-up for faster elevators and escalators, but during a fire or other emergency, stairs become our primary passage to survival. ...

Recommended for you

Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

August 3, 2015

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have found the earliest example of reproduction in a complex organism. Their new study has found that some organisms known as rangeomorphs, which lived 565 million years ago, ...

Model shows how surge in wealth inequality may be reversed

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—For many Americans, the single biggest problem facing the country is the growing wealth inequality. Based on income tax data, wealth inequality in the US has steadily increased since the mid-1980s, with the top ...

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.