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Suicide Bomber? Running For Exit May Be The Worst Thing To Do

Date:
November 14, 2007
Source:
Florida Institute of Technology
Summary:
Virtual simulations indicate that various crowd formations affect the number of injuries and fatalities in the event of a pedestrian suicide bomb attack. A person that is in line-of-sight with the attacker, rushing toward the exit or in a stampede was found to be in the least safe position. The safest way to stand or sit in a crowd, the research found, was in vertical rows.

Recent research by Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, a Florida Institute of Technology doctoral student and Fulbright Scholar, indicates that various crowd formations exacerbate or minimize injuries and fatalities in the event of a pedestrian suicide bomb attack.

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His work was conducted through virtual simulation. It showed that the crowd formation experiencing the worst effects is a circular one, with a 51 percent death rate and 42 percent injury rate, thus reaching 93 percent effectiveness. A person that is in line-of-sight with the attacker, rushing toward the exit or in a stampede was found to be in the least safe position.

The safest way to stand or sit in a crowd, Usmani found, was in vertical rows.

"Zeeshan is one of the most talented students I have met. His ability to grasp and integrate distinct unrelated topics is impressive," said Richard Griffith, Ph.D., Florida Tech associate professor and program chair, Industrial/ Organizational Psychology program.

His findings, though preliminary, may have implications for emergency response and counter-terrorism activities. He plans to continue the research, integrating several physical and social variables into the simulation. These include modeling physical objects such as landscape and furniture, and such social variables as crowd behaviors.

"There are many applications for this simulation, from special event planning to emergency response," said Usmani.

Andrew English, president of SIMetrix solutions and a research professor at Florida Tech is co-author of the study. He has produced several reports on using advanced technologies for training for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the Australian Defense Simulation Office.

Usmani will present this research again on Nov. 27 at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference, to be held in Orlando, Fla.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Florida Institute of Technology. "Suicide Bomber? Running For Exit May Be The Worst Thing To Do." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071113144348.htm>.
Florida Institute of Technology. (2007, November 14). Suicide Bomber? Running For Exit May Be The Worst Thing To Do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071113144348.htm
Florida Institute of Technology. "Suicide Bomber? Running For Exit May Be The Worst Thing To Do." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071113144348.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

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