Who isn’t familiar with the following situation:
We enter a building and do not inform ourselves about the escape and rescue routes. In this and various other small buildings, where we only spend a short amount of time every day, it is already dangerous to not make ourselves familiar with these things. But what about a hotel stay?
Imagine it’s your first night in a hotel and the fire alarms are going off in the middle of the night. You wake up startled in complete darkness and can’t find a light switch right away. The situation immediately makes you feel uneasy. After finding a light switch, you open the door and find the hallway abandoned. What do you do?*
Option 1: You go back to bed, or
Option 2: you get dressed and leave the building
Speaking from my many years of experience as a professional firefighter, I can attest to the fact that most people choose Option 1. They think it’s a false alarm because no other guests nor smoke can be seen in the hallways. If you considered the possibility that you might be the only guest on this particular floor, or that there might be a fire on the floors below or above you, you would certainly prefer Option 2. You would leave the building. Imagine this whole scenario starting from when you open the door to a smoke-filled hallway. You can’t see anything; you hear people screaming and can only guess where they are running to. You close the door and check the escape and rescue plan to find out where to go. But it’s too late: in your panic, you will not be able to do it!
In order to avoid this scenario in advance, we have developed ViRAss.
People need information
The virtual rescue path assistant “ViRAss” is an IT application that is created for
- hotel guests
- seniors in retirement homes
- hospital patients
- asylum seekers
to teach them in the shortest and most memorable way the actions that need to be taken in the event of fire and other dangers.
People do not always recognize danger immediately and react differently than they would under normal circumstances.
You do not use the shortest escape route in the event of an emergency but take the path you are most familiar with. On higher floors, this is usually the elevator as well as the entrance through which you entered the building.
Although you are aware that smoke can be dangerous or even deadly, you still choose to walk through a smoke-filled corridor. If overcome by fear of panic, rational thinking shuts down and is overridden by our fight-or-flight instincts which only lets us access our short-term memory. “That’s where I came in, so that must be the way out.” If people are uninformed, they just imitate what other people are doing. “They’re staying, so it shouldn’t be dangerous for me to stay either.” The social factor might even cause people to follow others through smoke. People oftentimes do not use escape routes out of ignorance.**
“Moving images stay in your head”
The escape and rescue route is available to guests at any time in a virtual-reality format via our app or an in-house TV channel. At the same time, it details what to do when you are the first responder on the scene: it shows you where the nearest safety equipment is located and how it is used as well as what steps need to be taken next.* Thus, every guest is always well informed about their unfamiliar surroundings and will – by adoption of safe and sensible behaviors – become an efficient member of the existing fire protection concept.*
ViRAss is available in all languages.*