Background When an uncontrollable fire is detected in a building there may be a 2–3 minutes window for the occupants to move to safety. Poor physical function and cognition may become critical factors in an evacuation situation. In this study a novel functional scale measuring emergency evacuation capacity of home care clients is presented.
Methods A fire security expert visited about 250 home care clients assessing their evacuation capacities. For the evacuation capacity three categories were used: 1) is able to evacuate; 2) may be able; 3) unable to evacuate. This data was linked to comprehensive assessments of clients functional and health status performed by home care nurses using the interRAI Home Care Assessment Instrument (RAI-HC). The goal was to investigate whether the evacuation capacity classification can be explained in terms of RAI-HC variables. As the mathematical method we have employed “classification and regression trees” (CART).
Results A fire evacuation capacity scale “EVAC” was developed using four levels of cognitive function as major categories. These categories were split into final groups based on performance in physical function. For each group we calculated the average capacity score ranging from 0 to 1 based on the dependent variable.
Conclusions The evacuation scale gives an estimate of a client’s ability to get out in case of a fire. The scale can be used to single out high risk persons for which compensatory safety technology may be required. The scale could reduce costs in assessing evacuation capacity of home care clients.
- fire emergency
- evacuation capacity