Abstract: The safety of a building can be explicated in two different ways: the ability to withstand a critical event that affects the structure and the ability to safely allow people to leave the building. The purpose of this article is to present a new methodology that can allow engineers to detect people trajectories in evacuation drills and provide a measure of effectiveness for buildings evacuation plans. Bluetooth receivers positioned at the side of roads have been used to measure road traffic flow conditions at given points of the road by sensing the driver's smartphones (only those with Bluetooth system turned on). In the proposed system, instead, Bluetooth beacon passive emitters are positioned as reference points and the sensing device is made up by the common smartphones of people evacuating a building The proposed methodology is thus based on using common Bluetooth beacons that are capable of emitting a radio signal. The radio signal can be picked up by the sensors present in common smartphones. The signal is then processed by a dedicated application on the device. Information is transferred to a computer and elaborated obtaining a measure of people positions. In the proposed system people movements in emergency evacuation drills can practically be traced with very simple and affordable equipment. In details training emergency simulations can be performed and evaluated after this procedure is applied: • An application is preliminarily loaded and started on people mobile phones. • Passive Bluetooth beacons devices are suitably placed along the escape routes and inside buildings, at critical points. Once all data from mobile phones are gathered the system is able to reconstruct the trajectories of smartphones, in indoor (or outdoor) environments, and therefore to assess the overall performance of the building evacuation plan. On the basis of obtained data it is possible to create a security index for assessing building emergency evacuation plans. With the proposed system it is possible to take into consideration specific abilities (or lack of) relative to the actual occupants of the building and also find out if someone, by mistake, does not follow the established evacuation path. The research was conducted carrying on an experimental survey for the evaluation of the errors produced by the instrumentation and also the experimental execution of a test evacuation from an office building.
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