« Back
  • Modelling the interaction of people with floodwater

    Agent-based methods in emergency management
  • Agent-based methods in emergency management
  • Agent-based methods in emergency management
  • Agent-based methods in emergency management
  • Agent-based methods in emergency management

Agent-based methods in emergency management

The Life Safety Model (LSM) is an agent-based model that represents the actions and interactions of people with floodwater with a view to assessing evacuation times and the likely number of fatalities. The LSM is currently used for floods. This research looked at incorporating additional hazards (e.g. tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquake, chemical hazards and wild fires) into the LSM.

Chemical spills and forest fires were identified as the most suitable hazards for integration into the LSM as it currently stands. However, it is important to note that only a limited number of vulnerability functions have been developed for forest fires, which means although evacuation times could be estimated it would be difficult to make credible estimates of injuries and loss of life as a result of a wild fires.

A second objective was to investigate the sensitivity of evacuation times and loss of life to the uncertainties in the physical characteristics of the population at risk. External programs were developed to enable Monte Carlo simulations of the LSM to be undertaken. The key parameters related to the characteristics of people and other receptors in the LSM can now be varied using different probability distributions. The research used a Monte-Carlo analysis to estimate the sensitivity of evacuation times and loss of life for two case studies to various parameters such as the physical characteristics of people (e.g. their height and weight) and parameters that affect the strength of buildings and the stability of vehicles in floodwater. It was found that while the uncertainty in the physical characteristics had a significant impact on the estimates of loss of life, it was not as significant as variations in the location of refuges and the response of people to early warnings.  

The ability to carry out Monte Carlo simulations quickly is beneficial in that the full range of uncertainty in the physical parameters of the receptors (i.e. people, buildings and vehicles) can be taken into account. This allows the effectiveness of emergency management interventions such as road closures, improved warnings and the locations of safe havens to be more robustly assessed by emergency planners.

For further information on this project see:

Experiences and advances in the use of the Life Safety Model to assist flood evacuation planning

The use of a Monte-Carlo analysis to assess the uncertainty in the estimates of loss of life from flooding using an agent based model.

Authors Darren Lumbroso, Mark Davison, Andy Tagg
Keywords agent-based model, emergency management interventions, flood risk management, loss of life estimation
Completed 2013

References

WM Johnstone, D Sakamoto, H Assaf and S Bourban (2005) Architecture, modelling framework and validation of BC Hydro's virtual reality Life Safety Model presented at the ISSH Stochastic Hydraulics 2005 conference, 23 and 24 May 2005, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Read more information at

Contact

Andy Tagg

Andy Tagg

Technical Director

+44 (0)1491 822332

Send an email View profile
Darren Lumbroso

Darren Lumbroso

Principal Engineer

+44 (0)1491 822383

Send an email View profile

Project information

Related projects