An evacuation in response to a risk or threat is the movement of people away from a designated area that is under threat to a safer area. The need for evacuation can arise from naturally occurring events, human-induced events (both intentional and unintentional) and events caused by technological failures.
The safe evacuation is of paramount importance for the safety management of large facilities. This need is the most pressing in the case of sports stadia, that routinely host events that gather tens of thousands of spectators and have recently become targets of extremism and terrorism.
An evacuation plan consists of a footprint of the facility, the main safety features (exits, corridors, fire doors, extinguishers), indicating the routes for evacuation to safety zones for every part of the infrastructure and also including the emergency activation methods.
The current evacuation plans are static, failing to effectively manage evacuation situations that evolve and change over time. Real-time, dynamic management of an evacuation process is of paramount importance and paper-based evacuation plans are of low value in actual stressful conditions, where human behaviour is unpredictable.
The technology used to assist evacuation incidents, in most cases, is limited to the CCTV monitoring of the areas of the stadium and communication with safety personnel located near the area where an incident occurs, using voice communication over UHF radio.
Current safety procedures are plagued by paper-based, outdated evacuation plans, insufficiently trained personnel and lack of sufficient situational awareness. There is an apparent need for a solution that will support decision-making, increasing the potential for an effective response, and strengthening preparedness of the venue operators.