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September 3, 2010

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Fire safety survey speaks for itself

The majority of people believe they would respond more quickly to a voice alarm during an evacuation of a building, a survey on behalf of Notifier by Honeywell suggests.

The poll compared the views of fire-industry specialists attending a recent CPD seminar with those of the general public.

Among the key findings, only 6 per cent of the public always think about how to get out of a building in an emergency in which they are regular occupants, and only 3 per cent in buildings where they are occasional visitors. Two thirds of the public occasionally or never think about evacuation procedures as regular occupants, a figure that rises to 89 per cent in buildings they use infrequently.

In the event of a fire alarm, 40 per cent of the public would instinctively follow people in their vicinity, and only 29 per cent would use the nearest exit. In the case of both the public and industry specialists, 26 per cent would assume an alarm is false until advised otherwise.

The vast majority of both groups expect a fire alarm to feature a bell or other audible sounder, while only 12 per cent of the public and 20 per cent of professionals anticipate a loudspeaker announcement. But 57 per cent of the public are certain they would react more promptly to a voice alarm instructing evacuation.

John Brandwood, director marketing and international sales for Honeywell Life Safety Systems UK & Eire, said the survey’s findings strongly support the use of voice in an integrated information system used as part of a fire-safety solution to enable “faster, safer evacuation”.

He added: “From a technology viewpoint, this is no longer a mysterious ‘dark art’, as cost-effective public address/voice alarm (PAVA) solutions are now available, which enhance the user experience in providing a wide range of safety and other information messages.”

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Andy
Andy
13 years ago

How many people were asked from both groups… probably fewer than 100, it’s hardly statistically relevant for the views of the public. This isn’t a survey, it’s marketing.

Shogan
Shogan
13 years ago

I hope that anyone considering use of voice alarms will remember that one in seven people has some degree of hearing loss. Alarm systems should work for everybody, including Deaf people.

Stevem
Stevem
13 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me that these so called independent survey’s always favour the opinion of a high end manufacturer/seller of the exact products they need to sell to keep their profits rolling in.
I have worked in the fire alarm industry for many years now and have still yet to be convinced that you can’t effect a fast, safe and normal evacuation of any building if the correct training is given to personnel.
The 26% of people will still assume a false alarm for voice or sounders.

Williamclark1152
Williamclark1152
13 years ago

Have thought for a long time there is a growing disrespect for fire alrms and this system would enhance the awareness of a potential fire. I would also consider a system of light which would direct the occupants to the nearest exit attached to the normal emergency light system.
I am sure this is not beyond the brains of this industry.