The shrill beeps of traditional fire alarms have been effective in the past to start an evacuation, but the deafening sound can cause chaos and confusion as people rush to find the exit. Voice evacuation, however, is a system that can be linked to your fire detection system and then provides clear language instructions to everyone in the event of an emergency.
A combination of automated pre-recorded messages and live announcements through the voice evacuation system during any emergency significantly improves people’s response to the situation. These systems are able to send broadcasts to all areas, specified areas, or zones. These messages can thus be personalized to provide clear directions to the fastest escape routes in individual areas. Useful in day-to-day operations as well, the voice system can play background music, make generalized announcements, and play advertisements.
Many building’s evacuation routes quickly become overcrowded and chaotic when everyone is expected to evacuate the building at once. The voice evacuation system solves this problem with phased evacuation. By alerting one area at a time, the system guides building occupants into a controlled evacuation which directs people away from the danger and vacates the building in an orderly manner. Floors containing a fire or close to fire are wisely evacuated first, followed systematically by the rest. Phased evacuation is best facilitated by live instructions through a voice evacuation system.
Why More Voice Evacuation Systems Should be Installed in South Africa
While it is not yet a requirement of building regulations in South Africa to have voice evacuation systems, it is an underused technology with unmistakable safety benefits. Owners who overlook these benefits put the lives of their building’s occupants in jeopardy. The advantage of phased evacuation as mentioned above is highly useful in large, tall buildings, and may mean the difference between life or death. Many more benefits of voice evacuation exist:
- Battery-backup: A voice evacuation system holds its own battery which must be checked frequently. If the main power fails in cases of load-shedding, the system will still remain operational.
- Ability to cancel false alarms and announce the all clear: alarms are serious disruptions to businesses and can lead to hours of unproductive time. Voice systems speed the process of canceling false alarms by sounding the all clear to return to work.
- Effective, fast and safe: 75% of people are more likely to react to voice alarm systems whereas the tradition fire alarm bell can easily be mistaken for a false alarm, leaving those who don’t react in danger.
- Provides Answers: A traditional alarm warns of danger, but a voice evacuation system can provide an answer to what danger there is and where. Staying informed gives people a sense of control as they use this information to avoid the dangerous areas on their way out.
- Compatible with many security systems: Voice evacuation technology has advanced far but it is always easily integrated with existing security systems by skilled technicians such as from Minerva Technologies.