In June 2015 Tom de Jong wrote his bachelor-thesis: ‘Different types of evacuation route signing techniques evaluated on the basis of their usability and efficiency in case of fire’ – this study was supported by Professor of Artificial Intelligence Jan Treur of the University of Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).
This thesis is written in Dutch, referring to Dutch law, which is in compliance with European legislation. De Jong has studied international papers and research regarding this subject and has evaluated techniques as to their usability and (cost-) efficiency for new construction and existing dwellings.
Results of this study are summarized in the abstract of this thesis:
Current required evacuation route signs are often overlooked and are not easily perceptible during smoke formation. Scientific research offers various methods and techniques in order to improve the escape process. A number of techniques will be discussed in this research, and there will be a distinction made among static, active, and dynamic evacuation route signage. The various techniques will be evaluated based on relevancy and efficiency. The conclusion is that active systems, those systems which are activated when an emergency is diagnosed, will double the visibility of the escape route signage, while at the same time, they are extremely suitable in the current construction inventory due to the limited financial investment needed, as well as the simplicity in installing those systems.
A dynamic system is more costly and installation more intensive because it utilizes a larger number of sensors and activators. However, a dynamic system offers the safest escape route, because the avenue of escape is adapted on the basis of the observed fire and/or smoke formation. Note: the full translation of this thesis is available soon at your request.
LightSaver technique can be referred to as active, which means in terms of this paper that it presents a (visible) notification in reaction to the activated (audible) smoke alarm. LightSaver is designed to mark the evacuation route (an escape door, or a staircase). After activation it presents a (blue-green) linear strobe light indicating the marked route, visible from all angles. The L100 unit is a battery operated unit, independent of any other installation; the unit needs the alarm sound of a common smoke detector (at a distance of a maximum of 6 meters) to react. The installation time of the L100 unit is approximately 30 minutes, by a non-trained person.
LightSaver offers two major improvements to emergency signing as required by law: the strobe light, and the linear strobe which is visible at floor height. According to the thesis, we can conclude that just the strobe effect doubles visibility; based on the research by Edwin Galea (Professor Galea is the founding director of the Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) at the University of Greenwich).
Above that, low level lighting offers a major visibility improvement in situations involving smoke.
It is therefore safe to say that:
While requiring limited investment;
LightSaver more than doubles the chances of a safe evacuation in case of fire.
- Full research 2014 Edwin Galea and others
- Additional research 2015 Edwin Galea and others
- Full Thesis 2015 Tom de Jong