Voice Evacuation Systems: The Sounds That Lead To Safety

Voice Evac systems are considered better alternatives to traditional audible


Voice evacuation systems are specially designed public address systems, typically used during fire situations, which the Life Safety Code requires for certain types of installations. Also referred to as Voice Evac systems, they are usually part of high-end fire alarm systems, primarily in places of assembly. The system uses spoken messages to evacuate public facilities in an orderly fashion during emergencies.

Voice Evac systems are considered better alternatives to traditional audible annunciators because a voice is typically less likely to instill panic, and the voice feature can be used to give specific instructions, for specific situations. Other justifications for Voice Evac are that, with so many devices making alarm-like sounds these days, people have become complacent to alarm sounds and signals. Combining an alarm signal with a voice message and instructing occupants as to what to do has proven to be much more effective in getting people to a safe area.

Voice Evac systems can also address security issues such as dealing with intruders or other emergencies within a facility. Voice Evac not only lets everyone know to get out, but it also informs them of where the danger is-so they can avoid it. Voice Evac systems can also be used during a crisis to more accurately deploy law enforcement, fire, or emergency services to the problem. A heightened public awareness of the need for orderly and safe evacuation is influencing municipalities and code writing agencies to write new regulations.

Although Voice Evac systems are not difficult to install, they do add to the cost of the traditional alarm system. Some manufacturers of Voice Evac systems endeavor to provide value-added features to their systems to help end-users better justify the additional costs.

CALCULATING PROPER USAGE
Code requirements need to be complied with. NFPA 101 (National Fire Prevention Association, document 101) requires you to install Voice Evac systems in certain types of buildings. It defines assembly occupancy as including, but not limited to, "all buildings or portions of buildings used for gathering together 50 or more people for such purposes as deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, or awaiting transportation."

Multi Function Features
The SAFEPATH4 Multi-Function Facility Communications system from Wheelock is an all-in-one system that includes voice evacuation, commercial sound, paging and background music. The system is easily expandable, in addition to supporting a full product line that includes low profile speakers, strobes, combination speaker strobes and other appliances. With this product line Wheelock offers free application engineering assistance and computer based design tools.
Visit www.wheelockinc.com for more information.

Audio Evacuation System offers Customizable Messaging
Fire-Lite's newly distributed audio and zone splitter panels expand on the features and benefits of the ACC-25/50 and ACC-25/50ZS. The enhanced ACC-25/50DA audio panel increases the available wattage of the system to over 1500 watts of crystal-clear digital audio power, while the ACC-25/50ZS zone splitter panel increases the zone splitter capability up to a total of 24 separate audio circuits.

Fire-Lite's precise fully featured emergency communications systems are ideal for schools, auditoriums, dorms, theatres, restaurants, places of worship, lodging facilities, assisted living facilities, office buildings and factories. With significant technological enhancements, including full supervision in both active and standby conditions, the ACC25/50 Series provides up to five customizable messages. The system also features full manual paging to allow first responders to provide precise evacuation directions to occupants.
For more information visit www.firelite.com.

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