FEMTC 2022

A Tragedy, A Full-Scale Fire Evacuation Drill, An Emergency Evacuation Simulation

Luca Fiorentini and Salvatore Tafaro (Brig.Gen.) - TECSA S.R.L. and Ministry of the Interior, National Fire Corp


A number of recent severe fires occurred on board roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ships; these episodes underlined the complexity of emergency management coupled with a severe threat for the passengers.

Authors, given three different opportunities and associated perspectives, will explore the lessons learnt related with risk on board ro-ro ships, considering a real tragedy, a full scale emergency drill and pedestrian dynamics simulation results.

They will present the "Norman Atlantic" ship fire on the 28th December 2014, resulting in 9 fatalities and 14 people lost at sea (not including number of undocumented migrants on board). Case will be discussed with the support of a formal structured Root Cause Analysis focusing on emergency management and pedestrian dynamics issues, employed during the discussion of the case at the Court. Fire started from the refrigeration unit of a transported truck.

They will then consider, give a fire event on a similar ship, a full-scale drill, organized on the 17th of February 2022 in Messina by the Fire Brigade and carried out involving all the local authorities. The evacuation simulation specifically concerned a fire on the car deck. The aim of the exercise was to test evacuation procedures for all passengers, with particular regard to people with special needs. In order to better coordinate the simulated emergency operations, the Prefecture of Messina also activated the regional centre for emergency and the area emergency plan. All emergency services, including voluntary associations, took part in the drill. Considerations and lessons learnt will be summarized.

Finally, they will consider the contribution of several pedestrian dynamics simulations, conducted on a model using PathFinder, to derive general lessons from variations of the Messina drill.

Aim of the paper is illustrating the results of the studies from three different perspectives: a real fire, a drill, a pool of simulations. Lessons learnt from the three approaches will be compared including a discussion of the work still to be done in the future to avoid the reoccurrence of such severe events that still happens, focusing on a holistic approach to fire safety on board.



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