Evacuation Alert Systems in Blocks of Flats

Firstly, what is the purpose of an Evacuation Alert System?
 
The objective is to provide a reliable and effective tool to assist in the evacuation of a building containing flats in whatever manner is considered appropriate by fire and rescue service operational commanders. These systems will typically be installed in high-rise blocks of flats, but the scope of this
British Standard includes systems installed in any building containing flats, regardless of height.
 
When did this standard come into effect?
 
BS 8629:2019 is a new standard. It is the code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats. It was introduced in England and Wales in November 2019, and now mandatory in Scotland.
 
Is it a Fire Alarm System? 
 
Not to be confused with fire detection and alarm systems, evacuation alert systems are for use by the fire and rescue service only, which may, in the course of managing a fire incident, want residents to evacuate sections of a floor (in a large building), individual floors, or the entire building. Using an evacuation alert system, residents can be directed to evacuate via alarms sounded in each flat.
 
Functionality
 
Ease of use and intuitive systems are paramount, if systems look and function the same way in every building fire fighters won’t waste any time understanding how they work. BS 8629:2019 exists to help ensure that systems are fit for purpose and to encourage uniformity.
These systems will be locked inside a high security box, only available for access by the fire and rescue service
 
Will these systems require maintenance?
 
The evacuation alert system should be subject to inspection, testing and servicing by a competent person every six months. If this recommendation is not implemented, the system is no longer compliant with BS 8629:2019.
It is important that these systems are regularly tested to ensure they are ready for use at all times by the fire and rescue service.
 
Wired or wireless systems?
 
BS 8629:2019 allows the use of wired or radio technology. It is anticipated that radio systems would be more appropriate for retrofitting into existing buildings and that wired systems would be more cost effective over the life of the building.
 
Are these systems available now?
 
Yes there are a number of manufactures who have already released systems and it is anticipated many more manufactures will announce availability of there systems in duecourse.
 
Looking for further information?
 
PLP Fire Protection have a wealth of experience within the fire industry and have been working in the block sector for many years, we carry out design, installation and
commissioning of evacuation alert systems and have undergone training with the Fire Industry Association (FIA) specific to BS 8629:2019. We would be happy to assist further with any questions you have regarding new systems or maintenance and repairs to existing systems

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