Visual Alarm evacuation cartoon

Staged Evacuation Using Visual Fire Alarms

Fire evacuation strategies will vary building to building and depend highly upon the fire safety risk assessment conducted. In general, the desire is for everyone to make a safe and fast evacuation should there be a fire. It goes without saying that without an evacuation strategy in place there is risk that people may become trapped in dangerous areas with an escape route blocked by smoke or fire.

Simultaneous evacuation is the most common approach and perhaps the default everyone is used to abiding by. It’s often used for small premises without multiple floors where it’s easy to manage and monitor the exit of all occupants. However, in more complex buildings with fire doors and compartments within the architecture, phased or staged evacuation is an alternative approach.

Phased evacuation in high rise buildings can focus on prioritising areas in close proximity to the fire or where there are occupants with impaired capability so they can be evacuated first. Staged evacuation may also be seen in theatres, cinemas and shopping malls where a large number of people are required to pass through the fire exits so the risk of overcrowding is present.

Staged procedures can be achieved in multiple ways dependent on accessible escape routes with guidance available in both BS 5839-1 and LPCB’s Code of Practice.

What Can We Offer To Help?

If a phased or stages evacuation strategy is in place, it will require the support of a staged evacuation system that is capable of providing signals that indicate two or more stages within any area.

The two common stages of an alarm are an ‘Alert’ stage for those areas not immediately effected and an ‘Evacuate’ stage for those areas where immediate evacuation is required. 

Different colours (red, amber, white) but be aware of colour blindness

Amber should indicate the first of multiple stages. 

Where VADs are used, there must be a means of unambiguously indicating each stage.

VADs of different colours or different flash rates in premises with trained staff

Reccomends two diffe

Link to visual alarms to assist evacuation

What Do You Need To Know?

Staged Evacuation can help with large numbers of people

Different Flash Rate Signals Can Indicate Stages

Different Colour Signals Can Indicate Stages

Training & AwarNess Is Key To Effectiveness

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