According to a survey conducted by FIRE0101, as of September 2021, there were roughly 772 fires in high-rise buildings. While these fires were usually limited to the apartment where they started, they often spread to nearby flats.
When it comes to simultaneous evacuation, high-rise structures pose a particular set of challenges. Simultaneous evacuation can result in large groups of individuals attempting to flee at the same time, possibly down a single stairway, with a mix of young, elderly, and infirm people. When the Fire Rescue and Safety Service (FRS) needs to go up the stairwell with heavy equipment, such a circumstance is not ideal.
As a result of increasing fire incidents, a new British Standard was introduced in 2019 called the BS 8629:2019 that specifies requirements for Evacuation Alert Systems (EAS) to be utilised by the FRS in case of an emergency in an apartment block.
What is an EAS?
An EAS is an alarm system operated by a control panel within an apartment building used by the FRS when they respond to an emergency.
The BS 8629:2019 standard is intended to be used by:
1. The Fire and Rescue Department
2. Building Supervisors
3. Evacuation Alert System Manufacturers
How does the BS 8629 work?
According to BS 8629, each flat in a block must have an alarm sounder. The control panel can activate evacuation alerts for specified regions or levels within the building. It does not require a two-way communication system or a Voice Alarm System, but it must have an alarm sounder and a visible alarm device in each flat.
The EAS is not the same as a fire alarm system. Heat or smoke sensors do not activate it. Instead, it should only be controlled by the FRS via an evacuation alert control and indicating equipment panel.
What is the benefit of having an EAS?
By installing a tested EAS, you are highly prepared, making residents feel more secure in their surroundings. Most buildings include an evacuation alert and alarm system for tall buildings with flats, and these are becoming a valuable part of a fire evacuation strategy.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re following the guidelines, whether they’re necessary or not, especially for high-rise buildings that are vulnerable to fire or fire-related hazards. Rules might change over time, so staying ahead of the curve is essential.
Why should you follow the standard?
The standard must be adopted, so the FRS can handle an evacuation without learning how each unique system operates. Universal instalment and operating standards also ensure that quality is maintained and the risk of failure is recognised and managed.
At FLR Spectron, our EAS combines durability and reliability with speed and simplicity and is available in various configurable formats, including wired, wireless, and hybrid alternatives. This flexibility allows you to develop the best possible evacuation alert solution based on the requirements of your local FRS. If you need advice or more information on EAS, get in touch with us at- https://flrs.co.uk/fire-security/fire/evacuation-alert-systems/.