During the revision cycle for the 2015 edition of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, there was a proposed change to increase the maximum allowable size of a smoke compartment in health-care occupancies from 22,500 ft2 (2,090 m2) to 40,000 ft2 (3,700 m2) – almost double the size (the maximum travel distance of 200 ft (61 m) to smoke barrier would remain the same).
This change could affect the evacuation/relocation of patients during an emergency in a health-care facility. Therefore, a research project began, and the associated report, "Egress Modelling in Health Care Occupancies," written by Virginia Alonso with the GIDAI Group, University of Cantabriawas, was published. In this work, the computational model STEPS is used for analyzing different scenarios for sleeping areas in health care facilities. The scenarios studied focused on the change in compartment size as well as the staff to patient ratio, and how those variables impacted egress times.
Download the complete report from the Fire Protection Research Foundation website.