Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ensuring the life safety of staff working on site is a huge priority for every business, making it important to have clear and effective evacuation protocols in place in the event of a fire, bomb threat or emergency of any nature.

A 2019 study by the Fire Protection Research Foundation evaluating people’s responsiveness to various types of fire alarms in buildings revealed interesting results in this regard. Where traditional alarms, like sirens and strobes, were used, people were unsure whether it was a drill or real-life emergency, and many even ignored the alarm and continued with work, believing it was a system fault.

Dean Gopal

Dean Gopal

In an emergency, ensuring that all occupants of a building are able to, firstly, understand that an alarm is communicating a real-life threat, not just a drill or a fault, and secondly, start to immediately move toward the closest and safest exit to them, is crucial, and could save lives. While traditional alarms serve the basic purpose of alerting people to evacuate, they may not convey urgency and cannot provide people with clear instructions on what to do next.

There are also many other variables to consider, such as that many people panic in an emergency and forget safety training, or that there could be occupants present who are unfamiliar with the building’s specific emergency protocols.

For larger buildings or office parks using a phased evacuation approach, instructing those who are in the most immediate danger to evacuate first would require live voice prompts or pre-recorded, automated audio messages. Traditional alarm systems would not be as effective here as a Public Address and Voice Alarm (PAVA) system that issues clear instructions to direct people away from danger and towards their designated or safest exit.

In all these cases, a voice alarm system helps to streamline the evacuation process and ensure all occupants are quickly and efficiently led to safety. Because, along with appropriate signage and clearly marked exits, voice alarm systems have been found to promote more timeous, orderly and panic-free evacuations of buildings during fires. Added to this, voice alarms have also proven more effective than traditional fire alarms in preventing damage to property.

Eaton is a global leader with a long history of expertise in creating innovative life safety solutions. The company is committed to delivering market-leading solutions that protect people and property, with products that can help detect, notify, evacuate, and protect against a range of traditional threats and emergencies.

“A well-designed, high definition PAVA system is an essential component in any emergency or safety strategy, helping to prevent loss of life and damage to business property and assets. In a world where keeping employees safe and ensuring business continuity is of utmost importance, having a system that offers that level of peace of mind is key,” says Gopal.

Eaton’s DAU500 is based on the concept of a standalone, decentralised network topology with a multi-channel amplifier to power up to six loudspeaker circuits, and built-in local power backup in case of power outages. It’s a compact, all-in-one wall-mounted evacuation system, capable of both standalone (for small systems) and network operation (for larger system expansion).