Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Risk Factors That Affected World Trade Center Evacuation Identified

Date:
January 27, 2009
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers have identified factors that affected evacuation from the World Trade Center Towers on Sep. 11, 2001. A research methodology known as participatory action research (PAR) was used to identify individual, organizational, and structural (environmental) barriers to safe and rapid evacuation.

NYC Skyline with World Trade Center.
Credit: iStockphoto/Markus Seidel

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have released findings identifying factors that affected evacuation from the World Trade Center (WTC) Towers on September 11. A research methodology known as participatory action research (PAR) was used to identify individual, organizational, and structural (environmental) barriers to safe and rapid evacuation.

PAR is a research approach in which the researchers actively engage and collaborate with members of the study population on all phases of the project -- from study design to the presentation of results and discussion of implications. According to Robyn Gershon, DrPh, professor of clinical Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and principal investigator for this study, "PAR has been used extensively in occupational health research but not, to our knowledge, in disaster research."

For this WTC Evacuation study, the WTC evacuees, study investigators, and consultants with a wide range of expertise worked together collaboratively to develop a set of recommendations to improve high-rise evacuation of business occupancies. The PAR teams identified key risk factors associated with three major outcomes: length of time to initiate evacuation, length of time to complete evacuation, and incidence of injury. WTC evaluation initiation was delayed by lack of awareness and experience in evacuation procedures; making phone calls; seeking out co-workers; and personal concerns about one's own ability (e.g. health and stamina) to descend multiple flights of stairs.

Workers also delayed their evacuation because they were waiting for their supervisor's permission to leave. The length of time for the entire evacuation process was lengthened by inappropriate footwear; confusion about where the staircases were located and where they terminated; and periodic congestion on stairs. Injuries were associated most often with physical disabilities (i.e., those with physical disabilities were more likely to be injured during the evacuation process).

The researchers make recommendations that focus on the need for a greater emphasis on emergency preparedness for high-rise workers. Specific measures recommended by PAR team members include mandatory training and drills, such as full-building evacuation drills. PAR team members also suggested that employees keep comfortable footwear and emergency supplies at their desks.

"One of the most important recommendations the teams made was to encourage the development of a clear cut emergency preparedness climate that is communicated to personnel," noted Dr. Gershon, "Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility."

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the Association of the Schools of Public Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Risk Factors That Affected World Trade Center Evacuation Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126104355.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2009, January 27). Risk Factors That Affected World Trade Center Evacuation Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126104355.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Risk Factors That Affected World Trade Center Evacuation Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090126104355.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins