Human behaviour in fires is mainly studied by incident evaluations and real-life experiments, such as unannounced evacuation drills. The possibilities of virtual reality for studying human behaviour in fires are so far hardly adopted by researchers. Nevertheless, the application of a behavioural assessment and research tool (BART) in virtual reality is expected to be a valuable supplement on the existing research methods. The primary goal of the tool in virtual reality (VR) is to generate the information that fire safety engineers need for the design of a safe building that complies with actual human behaviour in fires. The innovative instrument will be validated by comparing the results of experiments in a virtual environment with results of the same experiments in real life. In this paper the design of BART will be described. Furthermore some case studies on evacuation behaviour in a real hotel building, as well as in a virtual hotel building in BART are described. The paper will conclude with key findings on behavioural assessments in VR.
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