Emergency Communication Systems
Emergency Communication Systems play a pivotal role in ensuring the Life Safety of those within your premises.
Refuge refers to the provision of a dedicated safe area within a building or venue, to facilitate the evacuation, in the event of an emergency, of those who may have difficulty negotiating the exit route. A Disabled Refuge System, often referred to as an Emergency Voice Communication System (EVC), provides uninterrupted two-way communication to the refuge area, to enable fire fighters and emergency services to speak to those building occupants who have made their way to the refuge point for assistance.
The first step in assessing whether refuge is required within a building or venue is to carry out a fire risk assessment based on current standards (note – not the standards applicable at the time of construction of the building or venue). Diamond can provide a comprehensive risk assessment for your premises and will advise you of your obligations under BS5839-9, and the Equality Act 2010.
In summary, Part 9 of BS5839 states that a disabled refuge system is required:
In the UK today, 1 in 6 people have some form of hearing loss. In Northern Ireland, a recent study estimated there are currently 287,500 people with some form of hearing impairment, with this number expected to rise. Someone with a hearing impairment, whether an employee or a member of the public, is at high risk if they cannot hear the activation of a fire alarm. It is therefore vital that consideration is given to these individuals during ongoing fire risk assessments, and in the design of new fire alarm systems.
The Equality Act 2010 requires UK employers to make provision for disabled staff and customers, particularly as regards fire safety. Deaf Alert Paging systems are designed to provide an effective means of communication of a fire alarm activation to those with some form of hearing loss, facilitating their safe evacuation from a building or venue.
Deaf Alert Paging systems generally comprise pagers that wirelessly connect to the building’s fire alarm panel. In the event of a fire alarm activation, a message is paged to all Deaf Alert Paging system users to alert them of the alarm, and request immediate evacuation. In sleeping accommodation, such as hotels, care homes, or dormitories, a more effective form of Deaf Alert Paging is the vibrating pillow. These portable units vibrate and omit strobe lighting in an emergency. Vibrating pillows are designed to wake the hearing impaired individual from their sleep in the event of a fire alarm activation.
A Voice Alarm System, also known as a Voice Evacuation System, is an essential accompaniment to a fire alarm system in buildings containing a large number of occupants. Typical applications include hotels, office blocks, entertainment venues, arenas, universities, shopping centres and airports. The primary purpose of a voice alarm system is to assist in the evacuation of a building or venue in the event of an emergency situation, such as a fire or bomb alert. Voice alarm systems are also suitable for daily use as public address systems, for the broadcast of music, promotional messages and staff paging.
Voice alarm systems are directly connected to a building’s fire alarm system. In the event of a fire alarm activation or similar emergency situation, a voice alarm system provides clear, concise instructions for evacuation, in a calm re-assuring manner. Verbal instruction is proven to be a more effective means of initiating a controlled, safe evacuation, and minimising panic amongst the general public.
Diamond specialise in bespoke solutions, including tailor made voice alarm systems. Each system is customised depending on your requirements and systems have the option of phased evacuations, most suitable for larger sites. With a phased evacuation, some areas, or “zones”, within the building can be instructed to evacuate immediately, with others put on “alert” pending further instructions. Diamond offer a full range of voice alarm systems and provide full installation, including integration with your existing fire alarm system. Due to partnerships with the world’s leading manufacturers, our products are energy-efficient, using high-performance components that offer substantial cost savings over the lifetime of the system.
Post-installation, voice alarm systems require regular maintenance, including a check of the back-up batteries which are essential to the continued operation of the system in the event of a power failure. Diamond offer maintenance and emergency response across Northern Ireland to ensure your voice alarm system functions properly when you need it most.
The applicable codes of practice for voice alarm systems are BS5839-8, BS EN 54-16, and EN60849. Diamond offer risk assessment and design support to advise you on the most appropriate system for the size and complexity of your building, ensuring you remain fully compliant with all applicable legislation.
Fire telephones are another form of emergency communication, and like disabled refuge systems, fall under the requirements of BS5839-9. The fire telephone is an essential means of communication between the attending Fire Officers and those responsible for the evacuation of a building or venue during an emergency situation. The primary aim of the fire telephone is to assist with the efficient evacuation, through uninterrupted liaison and co-ordination with building management.
Typical applications include hotels, shopping centres, office blocks, airports, sports venues, entertainment complexes, and any other premises with a phased evacuation procedure.
Like all emergency communication systems, fire telephones require regular maintenance, including a check of the back-up batteries which are essential to the continued operation of the system in the event of a power failure. Diamond offer maintenance and emergency response to ensure your fire telephone system functions properly when you need it most. We also offer risk assessment to advise you if a fire telephone is required, and offer the most appropriate solution for the size and complexity of your building, ensuring you remain fully compliant with all applicable legislation.
Mass Notification systems are a relatively new and innovative form of Emergency Communication. The purpose of a mass notification system is to provide an alert of an imminent or existing emergency to an unlimited number of communication devices within a geographical area. Critical information can be broadcast in real time via voice call, SMS or email to provide up to the minute emergency information, along with instructions on what to do. The messages may be either pre-recorded or live message announcements as a situation develops.
Applications for mass notification systems include university campuses, hospitals, large office blocks, hotels, arenas, government complexes, or anywhere there is likely to be a large public gathering. If you are interested in a demonstration of mass notification systems contact Diamond.
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