Validating a low cost approach for predicting human responses to emergency situations

Appl Ergon. 2013 Jan;44(1):27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 15.


This paper presents a new approach for predicting human responses to emergency situations. The approach was developed for ergonomists working in emergency response preparedness. It involves presenting participants with a description of a hypothetical emergency scenario before asking them to describe how they would respond. This study builds upon previous investigations (Lawson et al., 2009a, 2009b; Lawson, 2011) which demonstrated significant associations between the predicted behaviour and that reported in a reference study of behaviour in real fires. This further work aimed to evaluate in greater detail the validity, reliability, resources and ethics of the approach. The results demonstrated significant relationships between the predicted behaviours and those from the reference study for both frequencies (r(s) = 0.572, N = 51, p < 0.001) and sequences (r(s) = 0.344, N = 40, p < 0.05) of behaviour. The approach is shown to be replicable and requires low resources. It does not present any notable risk of physical injury.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Emergencies*
  • Emergency Responders / psychology
  • England
  • Female
  • Fires
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult