Studies show that the amount of time that passes between an alarm being raised and occupants of a building mobilising for evacuation is drastically reduced when a speech message is broadcast and heard when compared to the amount of time that passes before evacuation for a standard fire-alarm tone.
Widespread use of spoken voice alarm messages led to revisions of the British Standard i.e. BS5839-pt8 Voice Alarm and the EU Construction Products Regulation for fire products with the introduction of the EN54equipment standard.
Whilst very efficient on rules and guidelines for equipment standards and cabling types the standards do not provide any guidelines on the philosophy of deployment of fire safety systems or instructions on how systems should be used.
System components might include microphones, an audio router (or number of routers), amplifiers and speakers. All components should include monitoring, so that you know if the system is working and will work in the event of an incident. The system should include battery back up (electrical fires are common). The system should also include pre-recorded messages and the ability for live messages from a nominated responsible person too i.e. a fireman’s microphone. Speakers should have fire resistant back cans and use A and B cabling. All cabling should be fire-retardant.
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The full Applications document can be downloaded here: