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Human behaviour in crisis situations: A cross cultural investigation to tailor security-related communication (BeSeCu)
Start date: May 1, 2008, End date: Dec 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of the proposed project is to investigate cross-cultural and ethnic differences of human behaviour in crisis situations in order to better tailor security related communication, instructions and procedures with a view to improving evacuation and protection. The project will provide evidence that will be useful to first responders, building designers and those involved in the development of emergency operating procedures for buildings. The BeSeCu project employs two research strategies: A) A cross-cultural survey of individual experiences will be conducted to identify determinants of inter-individual differences in people who have experienced evacuation situations, fire disaster survivors and survivors of similar crisis situations, but also workers and first responders as well as those affected in the community. This retrospective study will be carried out across 7 European countries with diverse cultural background. B) Experimental trials will be carried out in three countries simulating real time evacuation scenarios in standardized settings including objective measures (e.g. response time) as outcomes as well as video-tape analysis. Results will be analysed to identify similarities and differences between cultures and ethnic groups as well as a range of socioeconomic factors. The analysis will triangulate findings obtained with objective measures, subjective experiences and behavioural observations. Two types of research findings and products will be provided by the BeSeCu projects: (A) An evidence base that will enable designers of buildings to develop culturally appropriate emergency operating procedures. (B) An evidence base of inter-individual differences that will be employed to develop a culture sensitive communication training to improve emergency interventions. The research will be carried out by a consortium of 8 European partners including end-users (e.g. fire service colleges) in the process of research.

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