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News Archive

October 2021

Inflight transmission of COVID-19 based on experimental aerosol dispersion data

Wang, Z.; Galea, E.R.; Grandison, A.; Ewer, J.; Jia, F.

Journal of Travel Medicine, May 2021, Volume 28, Issue 4

An issue of concern to the travelling public is the possibility of in-flight transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during long- and short-haul flights. The aviation industry maintains that the probability of contracting the illness is small based on reported cases, modelling and data from aerosol dispersion experiments conducted on-board aircraft.

Results: The MID-AFT cabin exhibits the highest infection probability. The calculated maximum individual infection probability (without masks) for a 2-hour flight in this section varies from 4.5% for the ‘Mild Scenario’ to 60.2% for the ‘Severe Scenario’ although the corresponding average infection probability varies from 0.1% to 2.5%. For a 12-hour flight, the corresponding maximum individual infection probability varies from 24.1% to 99.6% and the average infection probability varies from 0.8% to 10.8%. If all passengers wear face masks throughout the 12-hour flight, the average infection probability can be reduced by ~73%/32% for high/low efficiency masks. If face masks are worn by all passengers except during a one-hour meal service, the average infection probability is increased by 59%/8% compared to the situation where the mask is not removed.

Conclusions: This analysis has demonstrated that while there is a significant reduction in aerosol concentration due to the nature of the cabin ventilation and filtration system, this does not necessarily mean that there is a low probability or risk of in-flight infection. However, mask wearing, particularly high-efficiency ones, significantly reduces this risk.

Exploring the potential effectiveness of dynamic and static emergency exit signage in complex spaces through simulation

Filippidis, Lazaros; Xie, Hui; Galea, Edwin R.; Lawrence, Peter, J. L.

Fire Safety Journal, 2021, Volume 125, 13404

Emergency exit signs used in buildings aid occupant wayfinding during an emergency. However, research suggests that conventional signs lack the ability to attract people’s attention in an emergency. This can result in the underuse of emergency exits and the overuse of main entrances with potentially fatal consequences. The effectiveness of signage depends on their ability to draw occupants’ attention. A novel dynamic signage design, Active Dynamic Signage System (ADSS), was proposed to address this issue through incorporating flashing green LEDs into the arrow of conventional exit signs. Its effectiveness was tested in a series of experiments achieving a detection rate of up to 77% as opposed to 38% for conventional exit signs. In this paper, the signage model within the buildingEXODUS software was adapted to represent the ADSS and a series of simulations were run to investigate the potential effectiveness of the ADSS compared to conventional signs. The scenarios examined involved a supermarket geometry, 900 agents and three levels of signage configuration. The modelling results suggest that the ADSS can reduce total egress times for this structure by 18%, congestion by 36%, travel distances by 12%, resulting in a more efficient evacuation compared with that produced by conventional signage.

Building Information Modelling for performance-based Fire Safety Engineering analysis – A strategy for data sharing

Siddiqui, Asim A.; Ewer, John A.; Lawrence, Peter J. L.; Galea, Edwin R.; Frost, Ian R.

Journal Building Engineering, 2021, 42, 102794

The Hackitt Report into the tragic loss of 72 lives in the Grenfell Tower fire, identified failures and poor practices associated with the UK construction industry. To address these failures the report makes several recommendations, including the development of a “golden thread of information” to be embedded throughout the entire building lifecycle enabling the recording and preservation of information. This is to be achieved through Building Information Modelling (BIM). However, to create a “golden thread of information” in BIM from the Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) perspective particularly for the performance-based approach, many significant challenges and limitations must be resolved. These challenges include the fact that no FSE specific information exchange is available in BIM and that the results produced by fire and evacuation modelling tools are not explicitly captured in the BIM Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) Model. Of the FSE tools that support BIM, this is mainly limited to geometry extraction from an IFC file. In this paper, a practical conceptual strategy to pave the way to resolve these problems is proposed. A number of developments by the authors are discussed, forming part of an international collaboration project proposal administered by buildingSMART to enhance the IFC Model from the FSE perspective. Additionally, to evaluate and demonstrate the benefits of two-way data flow between BIM and FSE tools, a prototype system together with a preliminary FSE based analysis database have been developed. The work presented in this paper, provides a practical road map for creating a ‘golden thread of information’ in BIM for performance-based FSE analysis.

Global wildfire large-scale evacuation model, GEO-SAFE H2020 project 691161, final D2.6 report, 29 April 2020

Veeraswamy, A.; Galea, E. R.; Lawrence, P. J.; Gallego, D. M.; Blackshields, D.

University of Greenwich, Fire Safety Engineering Group, 2021

This deliverable describes the large-scale evacuation modelling work performed in the GEO-SAFE project. A number of aspects of large-scale

evacuation modelling such as the integration of three models used in wildfire management, determination of walking speeds on different terrain slopes and types (paved/unpaved/grass). Finally, the developments are demonstrated using two test cases, one related to Spain and one to Australia.

Report on wildfire large-scale evacuations – behavioural responses, GEO-SAFE H2020 project 691161, final D2.5 report, 30 April 2020

Hulse, Lynn M.; Veeraswamy, A.; Vaiculyte, S.; Galea, E. R.

University of Greenwich, Fire Safety Engineering Group, April 2020

This deliverable provides an overview of the GEO-SAFE project’s Human Behaviour Study. Survey data were collected from residents in the South of France, Australia, and Central Italy, with the aim of identifying, quantifying, and calibrating behaviours occurring during wildfire evacuations. The evidence base generated by this study provides an understanding of various behaviours including evacuation decisions, response actions, and associated times. This data can be used to assist the development of an agent-based evacuation model, urbanEXODUS. In turn, this tool can be used by professionals involved in wildfire management to aid learning, decision-making, and planning.

Living, working and COVID-19 (Update April 2021): Mental health and trust decline across EU as pandemic enters another year

Ahrendt, Daphne; Mascherini, Massimiliano; Nivakoski, Sanna; Sándor, Eszter

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin 18, Ireland, 10 May 2021

A Mental well-being has reached its lowest level across all age groups since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago. This is especially prominent among young people and those who have lost their job. Existing inequalities are widening because of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups. The findings show that difficulties in making ends meet increased significantly among those already in a precarious situation. Citizens’ satisfaction with crisis support measures has declined dramatically, with only 12% now feeling support measures are fair, down from 22% in summer 2020. Those who felt obtaining support was easy and efficient also fell from 16% in summer 2020 to 10% in spring 2021. Close to one in ten respondents have had a request for financial support rejected. Trust in institutions has plummeted, especially trust in national governments which fell from 4.6 in summer 2020 to 3.9 in spring 2021. Trust in national governments across all Member States sank below levels recorded at the start of the pandemic. Trust in the EU also fell but remains higher than trust in national governments. Over a quarter of people living in Europe indicate a hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccine, with men revealing themselves more hesitant (29%) than women (25%). Vaccine hesitancy is also associated strongly with low levels of trust and social media use, with countries that register low levels of trust in government registering higher levels of vaccine hesitancy. The third round of Eurofound’s e-survey, fielded in February and March 2021, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe following nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions. This report analyses the main findings and tracks ongoing developments and trends across the 27 EU Member States since the survey was first launched in April 2020. It pinpoints issues that have surfaced over the course of the pandemic, such as increased job insecurity due to the threat of job loss, decline in mental well-being levels, erosion of recent gains in gender equality, fall in trust levels vis-à-vis institutions, deterioration of work-life balance and growth of vaccine hesitancy. The results of the survey highlight the need for a holistic approach to support all the groups hit hard by the crisis in order to prevent them from falling further behind.