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Anticipating emergencies

Software image indicating doors and simulating the movement of people leaving an auditorium

LEANDRO PEREIRASoftware image indicating doors and simulating the movement of people leaving an auditoriumLEANDRO PEREIRA

The study of the location of emergency exits and the total capacity of closed environments has gained heightened importance with the deaths at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The problem faced by engineers, architects, firefighters and city governments, given the scope of the tragedy, is the object of a study that may contribute to the pre-analysis of such environments. Conducted by researchers at the Federal Universities of Uberlândia (UFU) and Minas Gerais (UFMG), the study was published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Safety Science. “We developed a software based on mathematical models to simulate the actual movements of people on a computerized image of the specific environment, and to indicate the best possible exits and the most efficient escape and access routes in an emergency situation,” says Professor Leandro Pereira of UFU’s School of Mathematics, who worked on the study with professors Luiz Duczmal and Frederico Cruz of UFMG. “The location of doors, corridors and obstacles is crucial, and the new software is able to check and tweak everything on the image of a particular setting,” says Pereira. The system is not yet in a commercial form and that was not the original intention when the studies began in 2007. “We are analyzing the possibility of preparing it for commercial use.”