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SFPE 2024 Post Conference Seminar: Understanding Human Behavior in Fire

SFPE In-Person Professional Development Seminar
October 9, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

SFPE Annual Conference in Louisville, KY
Louisville Marriott Downtown
280 West Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202

Conference website: (Please check your conference registration email for $50 OFF discount code towards seminar registration)

Questions? Please email us at

Course Description

The prediction of human behavior during a fire emergency is one of the most challenging areas of fire protection engineering. Yet, understanding and considering human factors is essential to designing effective evacuation systems, ensuring safety during a fire and related emergency events.

The first module of this course will present the many types of characteristics that may influence occupant performance, reaction and movement process in an emergency situation. It will include a discussion on the Protective Action Decision Model (PADM) and how it serves to inform our understanding of the flow of information to occupants via cues from the fire, building or people in a fire situation and the resultant decision-making processes that influence their protective action responses during the fire incident. Discussions will also address exposure to toxicants, irritants, heat and visibility loss in a fire and the potential impacts, including additive effects, on the human body at varying degrees of exposure.

The second module will focus on modeling human behavior in fire and will include a discussion on the development and selection of occupant behavioral scenarios. The module will also discuss the many considerations that affect the choice of a particular calculation approach or model, such as project data needed, model input data needed, complexity of scenario(s), detail of output needed, and need to assess the impact of behavioral assumptions.

The third module will discuss fire situation management and will include discussions on enhancing human response to emergency notification and messaging and managing the movement of occupants during fire emergencies.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this seminar, the participant will be able to:
  1. Understand the many types of characteristics that may influence occupant performance, reaction, and movement process in an emergency situation.
  2. Understand the theory and process of individuals or groups of occupants taking protective actions in the context of the building fire emergency timeline.
  3. Understand how fire effluents can lead to incapacitation of people subject to the hazards of a fire.
  4. Obtain guidance to assist in developing occupant behavioral scenarios as part of a performance-based design
  5. Understand the basic concepts of occupant movement and how to estimate the time for occupants to move to a place of safety or refuge.
  6. Obtain understanding and guidance for the selection of one of the various methods of performing egress calculations.
  7. Develop an understanding of the various sources of uncertainty in human behavior analysis.
  8. Understand how people process emergency warning information and examine factors that may inhibit the process.
  9. Consider the numerous factors that play roles in the use of evacuation, relocation, and protect-in-place strategies when deciding how building occupants can best be safeguarded during fire emergencies
Bryan Hoskins, PhD, PE

An Associate Professor of Fire Protection & Safety at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Hoskins earned his BS and MS degrees in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. He also received his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2011 with an emphasis on building egress.

Dr. Hoskins spent one year working for Arup on projects primarily dealing with life safety design and people movement. He then spent two years working for the National Institute of Standards and Technology working on projects dealing with building evacuations and emergency messaging. At Oklahoma State University, Dr. Hoskins has taught courses related to life safety, structural fire protection, detection and alarm systems, sprinkler system design, special hazard protection, fire dynamics, smoke control, WUI fires, and others.

Professor Hoskins is an active member of the SFPE and NFPA. He serves as the chair of the working group that developed and maintains the SFPE Research Roadmap, serves on the committees for multiple SFPE guides and other committees, and is on eight technical committees for codes and standards. His research interests are in evacuation, tenability, emergency messaging, and other issues related to human behavior in fire.

Professional Development Credit:
7 PDHs



Target Audience:
Engineers, Architects, Code Officials/AHJs, Public Educators

Reference only - SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in Fire, 2nd Edition (2018)

  • FPE Members: $399.00 (early-bird rate) / $449.00 (regular rate)
  • SFPE Non-members: $524 (early-bird rate) / $574.00 (regular rate)
  • SFPE Student Members: $200.00 (early-bird rate) / $250.00 (regular rate) (limited availability)
Early Bird Registration pricing ends on August 26, 2024.