The geometrical shape and evacuation design at 69 local atria were surveyed. Evacuation of occupants in these 69 atria were simulated using the software building EXODUS. Two occupant loadings, one for shopping mall and the other for public access area, following the local codes were considered. The evacuation time for occupants staying at the atrium floor was studied with 16 simulations in each atrium. Results illustrated that the current evacuation design might be revised for some atria. For example during holiday seasons, there might be more people than normal; objects placed in the way of smooth exit paths; additional highly flammable fuel sources put in the decorations; and emergency exits even be locked for security. Each one seems innocuous by itself, but the cumulative effect is astonishing. New codes such as requesting for providing more emergency exits, though it is not welcome, might be necessary. In this case, evacuation design should be verified by simulations with software.
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