Sound signals to improve evacuation in road tunnels
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonFire safety journal. 2021, 125, 103431. 10.1016/j.firesaf.2021.103431
Although visual signage is the most common means of evacuation support in road tunnel emergencies, these can be of little help when there is dense smoke product of a fire. In such cases, auditory messages can lead evacuees out of a tunnel even in conditions with limited vision. This paper presents the results of two full-scale experimental studies designed to evaluate whether sound signals can help people to evacuate out of a smoke-filled tunnel due to a fire. Experiment 1 tested two sound signals (i.e. clicking sound and whistling sound) and their effect in aiding evacuation from a tunnel with poor vision. Experiment 2 was based on the results from Experiment 1 and tested two sound signals (i.e. clicking sound and bell sound). Experiment 2 confirmed that the evacuation success rate increased as people received information that they should follow the sound. In addition, subjective assessments by the participants revealed a higher preference for the tone-based sounds (i.e. bell sound and whistling sound) over the clicking sound. The results of this study can have implications in the assessment of new measures to support a more efficient evacuation from tunnels during emergencies.