AUST – Emergency Plan advises building owners, occupiers and certifiers who are either considering increasing an occupancy level in a building beyond normal allowable limits (pursuant to a building approval), or who need to justify increasing exit travel distances, should consider (as part of a fire engineered alternative solution for evacuation) under the Building Code of Australia (BCA), the merits of a unique sounder device that emits distinct sound to alert and lead occupants in the building to an exit during an evacuation exercise.

Product development through travel notifier/Inertia by Honeywell is an extension to a building occupant warning system and is activated by the fire panel that is part of the building fire alarm system for evacuation. Installation could be via an emergency plan under AS3745 – 2010 ‘Planning for emergencies in facilities’.

This device is located at all exit points, in paths of travel to an exit and within an exit and overcomes recognition problems experienced by building occupants in identifying the location of an exit particularly when smoke density has obscured exit signs and other visual cues during an evacuation.

The directional sound that is emitted, of which there are seven different patterns, can be heard by a person over and above other emergency sounders. The sound output is set at 15dB(A) above background noise. Testing shows that significant delays caused by the difficulty for occupants to find an exit during an evacuation and then exit the building can be avoided because of the effective guidance provided by the device.

The product does not replace occupant warning systems but complements these systems as well as emergency lighting and exit signage, etc. installed in a building. According to the manufacturer, the reduction in the evacuation time taken by occupants can be by at least 30%, depending on circumstances.

This means that time lost because of way finding and queuing at inappropriate doors could be reduced thus allowing occupants to evacuate a building quicker resulting in the potential to increase population above normally accepted circumstances or for extended travel distances to be more readily accepted. This could only be the case if it is shown that tenability can be sustained during evacuation and is proven to be the case by fire engineering analysis via an alternative solution process.

Work Health Safety Legislation

Refer to our Work Health Safety Legislation Table for further statutory information on safe occupation of a building including Evacuation Fire Procedures and Chief Warden Training.

Further Advice

For safe occupation of a building advice please contact our closest Emergency Plan office by clicking here.