Officials are now questioning the conventional wisdom that warns against using elevators while evacuating tall buildings in an emergency reports Newsday (paywall). Staircases are usually considered the safest route during fires, but in the case of the Twin Towers, many were blocked or unusable, forcing experts to rethink elevator evacuations altogether.

In studying how people escaped the World Trade Center on September 11th, researchers have also determined what might have delayed them and it’s kind of astounding:

Gathering personal items: 40%
Seeking out friend/co-worker: 33%
Searching for others: 26%
Phone calls: 18%
Shutting down computer: 8%
Waiting for direction: 7%
Gathering safety equipment: 5%
Changed shoes: 3%
Seeking permission to leave: 1%