The development of drunk behaviour during evacuation

Simeon A. Doychinov, Ann S. Dederichs


The intoxication of the occupants is hardly considered in the fire safety design, due to the lack of data on the subject. Recent research experiments into the influence of alcohol on evacuation have shown evidence that there might be a correlation between the development of drunk behaviour and the surroundings or context in which the occupants are situated. That is why the experiment in this report investigated the development of drunk behaviour in a group of people within a party environment, independently of alcohol, with the use of non-alcoholic beer as a placebo. The participants were put through 3 identical exercises, which were aimed at testing their balance, reaction times, concentration, hand to eye coordination, problem solving skills, cognitive skills and cooperation. In addition to that they performed 2 evacuations that were used to interrupt their ’drunk behaviour’ and test their reaction, decision and overall evacuation times. They were also analysed for signs of drunk behaviour with video and sound recordings. The results showed clear reduction of performance in the tests for concentration, hand to eye coordination, problem solving skills, cognitive skills and cooperation after the consumption of the beer, but little change in the balance tests. Apart from that, some of the participants showed signs of drunk behaviour, such as playfulness and increase in noise after the alcohol was consumed and these were reduced after the environment changed. Based on this it was concluded that even with non-alcoholic beer some of the participants developed drunk behaviour, like that observed in previous experiments with the use of alcohol.


evacuation; drunk behaviour; placebo; experiment; fire safety

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