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Two-way communication systems for refuge areas

Two-way communication systems for refuge areas that can be used by people with a wide range of disabilities and that comply with the recommendations of BS5839-9




In the design of safety systems in case of fire, the need is now taken for granted to provide a public address system in compliance with the EN54 standard that, jointly with a fire detection system, is able to spread in the areas involved in the emergency the appropriate announcements to manage the evacuation of people.

However, it is often not adequately taken into account that people in the buildings subject to evacuation may have difficulty in following emergency procedures quickly because they suffers from different types of disabilities or are temporarily prevented by contingent events (e. g. a person put in plaster cast as a result of a fracture).

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In this regard, attention is drawn to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which places duties on all employers and providers of services not to discriminate against disabled people, and to make adjustments to their policies, practices, procedures or physical features of their premises, to ensure that disabled people are not discriminated.

It is vital to ensure therefore, when making plans for the fire safety and management of buildings, that the requirements of disabled people are properly taken into account at all times.
In order to comply with this requirement, the legislation provides that the structures and organisational procedures to be implemented to ensure adequate management of evacuations in the event of fire provide for adequate "Refuge Areas".


The rules define the "refuge area" as a closed and fire-resistant zone, served directly by a safe route to the exit. People in each refuge area need to be sure that their presence is known to the building's management. In order to address this problem, there must be a two-way communication system which must be easily operable, the use of which is comprehensible to all persons that need to use it and that complies with BS5839-9.

ERMES, in its range of emergency communications equipment Over IP, includes the HelpLAN-E. 1PF unit particularly suitable for this type of use as it is characterized by some essential requirements in these applications; it is a wall-mounted installation emergency call unit for hand-free communication that is characterized by a large red mushroom button marked with the word SOS.

These emergency call units are powered in POE and use a Peer-To-Peer protocol, therefore, each SOS unit is a self-sufficient stand-alone type peripheral unit that directly connects and manages the LAN without the need for interfaces, auxiliary units, servers or main unit of any kind.

An example of a simple and efficient connection structure is the use of POE switches, to which can also be connected cameras, badge readers or terminals of other security systems, wired in a ring structure in order to be resilient to the single interruption.

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ERMES ELETTRONICA s.r.l. - Via Treviso, 36 - 31020 SAN VENDEMIANO - ITALY
Phone +39 0438 308470 - Fax +39 0438 492340 - email: ermes@ermes-cctv.com