Be prepared: How training and emergency type affect evacuation behaviour Article

Liu, R, Zhu, R, Becerik-Gerber, B et al. (2023). Be prepared: How training and emergency type affect evacuation behaviour . 39(5), 1493-1509. 10.1111/jcal.12812

cited authors

  • Liu, R; Zhu, R; Becerik-Gerber, B; Lucas, GM; Southers, EG



  • Background: Video-based training has been widely adopted by private organizations and public authorities to educate occupants on various types of building emergencies. However, the effectiveness of video-based training for preparing occupants for building emergencies has not been rigorously studied nor has the impact of emergency type been investigated on training effectiveness. Objectives: This study examines whether video-based training is an effective method to prepare occupants for building emergencies and how the effectiveness differs in the context of different building emergencies. Methods: We simulated fire and active shooter emergencies in a virtual office building and conducted evacuation experiments to examine participants' emergency responses using both objective and subjective metrics. A total of 108 participants were recruited and responded to the fire or active shooter incident with or without video-based training. Results and Conclusions: The results revealed that participants with video-based training more often chose to follow other recommendations when responding to building emergencies instead of simply following others. Results from ANOVA showed that training increased participants' self-efficacy significantly, especially for those in the active shooter group. Moreover, participants in the active shooter simulation had a higher level of response efficacy than those in the fire emergency simulation. Our results also demonstrated the influence of emergency type on participants' final decisions and considerations of the recommendations. Implications: Our results suggested that video-based training is effective in improving participants' emergency preparedness and changing their behaviour patterns to a certain extent such as reducing following behaviour and encouraging safe evacuations. Additionally, statistically significant interactions between video-based training and emergency types suggested that training effectiveness should be considered in accordance with the emergency type.

publication date

  • October 1, 2023

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 1493

end page

  • 1509


  • 39


  • 5