Fire prevention in museums is a much more complex matter because the safeguarding of human life must be integrated both with the protection of the cultural heritage of buildings and the unrepeatability of the works of art exhibited. While most fires cannot be prevented, implementing complementary safety measures can help both to mitigate the negative impacts and limit costs. This is an issue that researchers have little investigated over time and thus very few studies are available in the literature. The paper shows the results of fire simulation and visitors’ evacuation processes from one-exit multi-storey historical building, which is used prevalently as a museum, equipped additionally with a non-invasive supplementary countermeasure based on an automatic people entry flow control system in the hall of the building. For achieving the purpose of our research, an extension of the analysis tools generally applied in the field of engineering was made. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling showed that for all fire scenarios investigated the gradual spread of combustion gases and smoke is influenced by fire size, building geometry, and chimney effect along the ceiling and the stairwell. The very high temperatures that could endanger the building structure and lining occurred only in the fire room. Evacuation simulations showed the effectiveness of the current fire safety plan and equipment to manage fire emergencies, and suggested including in security procedures staff alert and guidance for a quick evacuation of visitors. People entry flow micro-simulation proved that the implementation of a control system, which counted both the number of visitors and those leaving the museum in the same time and stopped temporarily the passages through the entrance, prevented the possibility of having an overcrowded museum for the safety of occupants in the event of fire.
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