Don't Panic: The Psychology of Emergency Egress and Ingress

By Jerome M. Chertkoff; Russell H. Kushigian | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Conclusions from Case Histories
What caused the extreme physical competition, such as pushing others out of the way, knocking others down, and trampling on others, that eventually occurred in the five cases of dysfunctional traffic flow? We believe that the following 10 factors, occurring in combination, produce these extreme forms of competitive behavior. As we shall see, six of these 10 factors were present in all five case histories of poor traffic flow. The other four factors, while not present in all five cases of dysfunctional traffic flow, contributed to the problem when they were present.We have divided the 10 factors into three categories: preconditions, reactions to the precipitating events, and factors once the traffic flow is strong. The 10 factors are:
PRECONDITIONS
1. There are severe limitations on the amount of passage space and/or on the number, width, or location of exterior openings.
2. A large number of people are present.
3. There is widespread lack of knowledge about some of the available paths and the location of some of the exterior openings.
4. There is a lack of an adequate emergency plan or the lack of adequate training in the implementation of the plan.

REACTIONS TO THE PRECIPITATING EVENTS
5. There is the widespread perception of serious negative consequences for the failure to exit or enter by some time limit.
6. There is the widespread perception of a severe limitation on the time available to exit or enter.
7. There is a strong response tendency to use the most familiar or most salient path and exterior opening.

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