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Computer Models For Fire and Smoke
  • Model Name: ASERI
    Version: ASERI 3.0
    Classification: Evacuation Model
    Very Short Description: Individual-based modeling of egress movement in complex
    geometries, including behavioral response to smoke and
    fire spread

    Modeler(s), Organization(s): Dr. Volker Schneider, I.S.T. Integrierte Sicherheits-
    Technik GmbH, Frankfurt / M., Germany

    User’s Guide:
    ASERI – Users’ Guide (hardcopy and complete online
    documentation – available in German and English)

    Technical References:
    ASERI – Technical Reference (hardcopy and complete
    online documentation – available in German and English)

    Validation References:
    T. Paulsen, H. Soma, V. Schneider, J. Wiklund, G. Løvås:
    Evaluation of Simulation Models of Evacuation from
    Complex Spaces (ESECX), SINTEF Report STF75
    A95020, Trondheim, Juni 1995

    V. Schneider, R. Könnecke: Simulation der
    Personenevakuierung unter Berücksichtigung individueller
    Einflußfaktoren und der Ausbreitung von Rauch, vfdb-
    Zeitschrift 3 (1996) 98
    H. Weckman et al.: Evacuation of a Theatre : Exercise vs
    Calculation, Fire and Materials 23 (1999) 357-361
    I.S.T. Integrierte Sicherheits-Technik GmbH, Feuerbachstr.
    19, 60325 Frankfurt / M., Germany, Phone (069) 72 11 68,
    Fax (069) 72 11 94, Email IST-HSK@t-online.de

    24.350,- DM (not including VAT, including hotline service
    and training)

  • Necessary Hardware: Pentium III, Windows 98 / 2000 / NT
    Computer Language: C++
    Size: Approximately 10MB of disk space, at least 64MB of
    RAM required, disk space for data output depending on
    scenario (typically several hundred MB)
    Contact Information: I.S.T. Integrierte Sicherheits-Technik GmbH, Feuerbachstr.
    19, 60325 Frankfurt / M., Germany, Phone (069) 72 11 68,
    Fax (069) 72 11 94, Email IST-HSK@t-online.de
    Detailed Description:
    Basic concept

    Each occupant is treated as an individual person, moving inside the building or any other
    geometrical scenario that may be amenable to egress movement (e.g. mass transport
    vehicles). The individual egress movement is governed by certain behavioural aspects
    that are triggered by external stimuli and limitations due to the movement of other
    occupants. Individual decisions and corresponding behaviour may contribute to a delay in
    starting the evacuation or interrupts, especially in the initial phase of the evacuation
    process. Furthermore, the choice of the egress path is strongly influenced by individual
    aspects like knowledge of the building layout or smoke tolerance. Basic features of
    behavioural response can be modelled in a statistical way.

    The probabilistic method allows for a more profound evaluation of the evacuation
    process by performing Monte-Carlo simulations. A number of replicate runs with
    identical input data are performed and statistically analysed, yielding not only mean
    values of egress times but also standard deviations and confidence limits. Furthermore,
    visualisation of the movement of the evacuees and corresponding dynamic graphical
    information (including the generation of AVI video sequences) on the population and
    crowd density in sensitive areas contributes to better understanding of the mechanisms
    individuals interact with each other and with the physical environment, including fire
    spread and smoke movement.

    Building Layout

    In ASERI, the geometrical scenario (building) is defined in a hierarchical way. A
    building is composed by a number of levels or stories, connected by stairways or ramps.
    Each level is subdivided into a number of rooms and corridors. Rooms, corridors, stairs
    and safe areas are the basic geometrical units. These units are defined by the respective
    ground-plan (generally represented by a polygon) and by size and position of doors and
    passages. Inside the units obstacles can be defined with arbitrary size and position. Safe
    areas - the possible destinations of the occupants - usually are regions outside the
    building associated with exits, but can also be located inside, thus representing regions
    that (temporarily) give shelter. The number of levels, units, passages and obstacles is only

    limited by available computer memory. It is therefore possible to model very large and
    geometrically complex buildings.

    Smoke spread and dispersion of combustion products

    Time-dependent temperatures and concentrations of smoke, carbon monoxide, carbon
    dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen cyanide can be related to each unit. Smoke concentration
    is expressed in terms of visibility.

    Individual space requirement

    Body size is represented by shoulder and chest width, according to the well-known
    concept of body ellipse. Furthermore, a minimum inter-person distance and the
    maintenance of a boundary layer clearance from walls and stationary obstacles is
    considered. Shoulder and chest width can be assigned individually, either by explicit
    input or by specifying of a distribution function appropriate for the respective population.
    By introducing effective size parameters, this concept allows for the definition of persons
    with increased space requirement, including persons with limited mobility, occupants
    with luggage or adults accompanied by smaller children.

    Individual movement

    The occupants’ movement is defined by the individual walking speed and the orientation
    of the corresponding velocity vector. The orientation is derived from the person's local
    position and the respective individual goal (e.g. nearest exit or prescribed exit).
    Furthermore, obstacles and the presence of other occupants influence the movement.
    Route choice is influenced by external impact and the behaviour of the other evacuees. It
    is thus possible for an individual to alter the original egress route choice in order to avoid
    smoke or congestion caused by unbalanced exit use.

    Time is advanced by discrete time steps of 0.5 seconds. For this short interval of time, the
    corresponding trajectory of a moving person can be represented by a straight line. The
    movement algorithm of ASERI ensures that no conflict with walls, obstacles or the
    movement of other occupants occurs.

    Impact from fire hazards

    The incapacitating effects of exposure to asphyxiates and heat are calculated using the
    effective fractional dose model of Purser. Based on the movement of the evacuees and
    the individual dose, exposure is calculated with respect to CO, HCN, CO2 and O2
    depletion. Synergetic effects, specially hyperventilation caused by the presence of CO2,
    are considered in Purser’s model. In addition, critical concentration thresholds of toxic
    fire effluents and oxygen are included in ASERI. Thermal stress caused by radiated or
    convected heat can also be expressed in terms of an effective dose, considering that short
    exposure to a high temperature is more incapacitating than a longer exposure to a lower

    The obscuring effects of smoke are described by assigning a time-dependent visibility to
    each geometrical unit. Beside the toxic effects of smoke components, the slowing down
    of walking speed due to reduced visibility and certain aspects of behavioural response to
    smoke are considered in ASERI.

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