Date of release: Friday, July 29, 2016

Ed Galea and Aoife HuntInnovative research aimed at improving the ways in which people with reduced mobility can evacuate high buildings has been recognised with a prestigious national award.

The work was carried out by Dr Aoife Hunt, as part of her PhD studies with the university's world-leading Fire Safety Engineering Group. Her project involved studying the effectiveness of devices which help people evacuate multi-floor buildings, and she also assessed how this could be accurately represented within evacuation computer simulation models.

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers has now granted Dr Hunt a Student Scholar Award, which recognises high-performing research students who are advancing the science and practice of fire protection engineering.

Dr Hunt says: "It has truly been an honour to work alongside the talented researchers at the Fire Safety Engineering Group. Previous recipients of this award have set a very high bar in their contributions to fire protection engineering, and I am proud to have the opportunity to continue in their footsteps.

The award marks the end of a tremendous journey. I am grateful to my supervisors, Professor Ed Galea and Dr Peter Lawrence, for giving me such a wonderful opportunity," she adds.

Professor Ed Galea, the group's Director, says: "Dr Hunt has made significant contributions. The knowledge gained from this research is being used to enhance the EXODUS evacuation simulation software so that it can better represent the evacuation of people with disabilities."

Julie A. Gordon, of The Society of Fire Protection Engineers, adds: "We are proud of her accomplishments and all she has done to advance the profession."

Part of the university's Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, the Fire Safety Engineering Group is a world leader in computational fire engineering.

Consisting of outstanding engineers, mathematicians and behavioural psychologists, the team carries out a unique combination of leading-edge research, large-scale human factors trials and practical, real-world consultancy. Its projects have included studies of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, the World Trade Center evacuation and the 7 July London bombings.

The group has unparalleled expertise in aircraft, building, ship and rail evacuation and fire modelling to simulate how people behave in a crisis, and how fire, smoke, toxic gases and heat spread through a burning aircraft or building.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Dr Hunt with Professor Galea at her recent University of Greenwich graduation ceremony.