According to the British Standards Association (BSI), research shows that those hearing a tone signal take more than six minutes to evacuate a building with which they are not familiar, while those hearing a recorded message will be out in around four minutes*. Live announcements are even faster at less than two minutes.
VA systems are recommended for all public buildings and multi-storey buildings over four floors. Following fire detection, automated messages control the flow of people in stair wells and corridors allowing an orderly evacuation without panic.
These messages can be supplemented by spoken messages from the fire service or management suite, confirming the validity and need to leave the building. This positive confirmation speeds evacuation and avoids the ‘false alarm’ mentality, reducing the risk of death from fire.
* 1DD 240-Part 1:1997 – Fire safety engineering in buildings – Part 1. Guide to the application of fire safety engineering principle, BSI, July 1997
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