Recently, enrollments in nursery schools have become higher and higher. This is largely due to the social progress of women, with the increasing number of working mothers. Additionally, the number of three-generation households is decreasing. Nursery schools are traditionally low-rise structures, with a playground, but deregulation of the law now allows for the placement of nursery schools in middle floors of high-rise buildings. In Japan, the ages of nursery school students are generally from infancy to five-years old, which means that they can't evacuate the premises by themselves during a fire, so we must research ways to evacuate them safely. And the scheme of planning safe evacuations from buildings has not been sufficiently researched, so we have investigated the practice of fire drills and have interviewed teachers and students of nursery schools. The following is what we have learned: Characteristics of evacuation ;drills of nursery schools: Students evacuate in class groups, lead by their teachers, who provide the indications. Time is needed for evacuation preparation (setting up strollers, gathering infants and preparing to carry them out, and giving instructions regarding exiting, etc.,) and before starting evacuation, and time for confirming the numbers of students, and waiting time is needed when they are evacuating, so these times must be considered in the calculation of evacuation time. The characteristics of evacuation abilities of nursery school students : Infants (up to one-year old), and students who can't easily walk by themselves must be carried by a nurse or other adults, which makes evacuation movements and management after evacuation more manageable. Two-year-old students are able to walk alright on their own but cannot sufficiently grasp the situation. It's difficult to follow the teachers' instructions, so a lot of assistances are need. Children aged three and over can, of course, walk even better, and can grasp the severity of a fire. But they tend to walk more slowly as they feel frightened in cases when they are at earlier age, or they have to take an escape route that they are not familiar with. In order to shorten evacuation time, older students should evacuate first, as they can walk faster than younger students, thus their escape time won't be hindered by slower evacuees. 3Notes of buildings that include a nursery school: Regarding the situation of using stairways for evacuation, there are many points of concern regarding the safety of children. Because there are many dangerous points related to stairways, such as the fact that stairways often arouse fear in younger students during emergency evacuation, and as a result they walk more slowly. Consequently, older students try to pass the younger, slower students. Especially in cases when a nursery school is on a middle floor of a multi-use building, there is a possibility that confusion is caused among the evacuating children who walk slowly, along with their teachers, as evacuating people from other facilities mix with people evacuating from the nursery school. Thus, having a dedicated set of stairs for children is better. In addition, nursery schools that are in existing buildings that were not designed to accommodate nursery schools, have higher handles and the height of steps rise. 4Decreasing evacuation route length: Due to the fact that nursery school students' bodies and minds are not fully developed, their circumstances during a fire are more severe than those for adults. Thus, nursery schools should be on lower floors of buildings or should have their own buildings. Also the distance from the rooms to the temporary evacuation place should be as short as possible.
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