SafeExit4All: An inclusive indoor emergency evacuation system for people with disabilities
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Cheraghi, Seyed Ali; Sharma, Anup; Namboodiri, Vinod; Arsal, Guler. 2019. SafeExit4All: An inclusive indoor emergency evacuation system for people with disabilities. 16th International Web for All Conference: Personalization - Personalizing the Web, W4A 2019; San Francisco; United States; 13 May 2019 through 15 May 2019; Code 150531
Indoor wayfinding has remained a challenge for people with disabilities in unfamiliar environments. With some accessible indoor wayfinding systems coming to the fore recently, a major application of interest is that of emergency evacuation due to natural or man-made threats to safety. Independent emergency evacuations can be particularly challenging for persons with disabilities as there is usually a requirement to quickly gather and use alternative wayfinding information to exit the indoor space safely. This paper presents the design and evaluation of an inclusive emergency evacuation system called SafeExit4All that empowers people with disabilities (in addition to the general population) to independently find a safe exit under emergency scenarios. The SafeExit4All application drives an underlying accessible indoor wayfinding system with the necessary emergency evacuation system parameters customized to an individual's preferences and needs for exiting safely from a premise. Upon receiving an emergency alert, a user accesses the SafeExit4All system through an app on their smartphone that has access to real-time information about the threat, and simply fol-lows on-screen turn-by-turn navigation instructions towards the closest safe exit. Human subject evaluations show SafeExit4All to be effective not just in terms of reducing evacuation time, but also in providing guidance that results in users taking deterministic, shorter, and safer paths to the exit most suitable for them.
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