Voice Evacuation Systems: The Sounds That Lead To Safety

Voice Evac systems are considered better alternatives to traditional audible


The line also features single button reset and silence functions, a built-in digital communicator, a programmable zone or point reporting capability, an enhanced user interface, an integrated dead-front cabinet, a powerful 6 amp 24vdc power supply and programming capability from the on-board user interface or via the SKSS PC-based programming software.
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Security Dealer: Since this product group provides features of fire, intercom, public address and life safety, what certifications, licensing, and training are required for the dealer to sell and install them?

Jeff Hendrickson: These products all fall under low voltage regulations and require the appropriate licenses for the municipality of the installation. In some cases, the public address /intercom systems use 70.7 volt line transformers to run the speakers and this will generally require an electricians license as it is considered high voltage.

Scott Schneider: Most individuals supporting the sale and installation of these products have an in-depth knowledge of the codes and regulations existing within their geographic area. In addition, certification from the National Institute for Certified Engineering Technicians (NICET) can also prove very beneficial. There are more than 100,000 NICET-certified technicians in the United States, who have passed very rigorous testing procedures that require a thorough knowledge of the equipment, applications, and established state-of-the-art design and implementation methods in a particular engineering area.

Security Dealer: Does the customer elect to install this type of system, or are they code-mandated upgrades?

Jeff Hendrickson: In the case of new construction, the systems are generally code driven. On retrofits, the code requirements and the requirements of the building occupants are both factors.

Scott Schneider: In many cases, the installation of voice evacuation and related systems are code-driven.

Security Dealer: What percentage of structures currently has a system of this type? What is the projected market for this type of system?

Jeff Hendrickson: I am not sure of percentages, but the market is predominantly high-rise buildings at this time, with the places of public assembly (with occupancy rates of 300 or more) being another code-mandated segment with a great deal of activity.

Going forward, the market for these systems will see additional application in smaller places of assembly (under 300 persons). This is currently being driven by local code and AHJ requirements. The voice evacuation systems are also useful in cases where multi-lingual instruction is desired.

Scott Schneider: It is impossible to know exactly how many structures operate with some form of a voice evacuation system since codes and regulations, which drive their installation, vary from state to state and throughout the nation. Although several states have adopted codes stipulating the mandatory use of voice evacuation systems, the overall number of states is still under 10, nationwide.

As of now, the projected markets for these products include any areas of mass assembly such as retail outlets, municipal buildings, industrial plants, schools and warehouses. In recent years, the military market has also grown mightily. This has included a greater demand for systems based in the United States, as well as oversees.

Security Dealer: Are these systems being written into plans for new construction?

Jeff Hendrickson: Yes, they are required in high-rise buildings and places of assembly with occupancy rates of 300 or more persons. Typically, these systems are not in the plans for small commercial structures, low-rise buildings or places of public assembly with sub 300 person occupancy rates. There are some communities, however, that are enforcing voice systems in places of public assembly at occupancy levels of 50 or more persons.

Scott Schneider: Yes, but once again, usage is mandated by the particular codes representing a specific geographic region. While such products must be UL listed, or tested by an approved testing agency to UL standards, they must meet the specific mandates of the NFPA, OSHA and IBC, among other regulating bodies representing that state or municipality.