PEW hears from ESP on some of the disabled refuge products and solutions being offered.
According to current Building Regulations, it is a requirement that all new, non-domestic buildings with more than one level provide ‘refuge’ areas – relatively safe places where people who cannot easily use fire escapes and evacuation lifts can congregate and summon assistance. Disabled refuge systems are called for in BS9999: 2017 – code of practice for fire safety in the design, management, and use of buildings – as well as Building Regulations Approved Document B (Fire Safety) Volume 2: Buildings other than dwelling houses.
As a leading supplier of security and fire protection solutions to the professional electrical market, ESP has been taking on an increasing number of larger, specification type projects and has identified an opportunity to expand its product portfolio to offer a comprehensive disabled refuge range that meets the requirements of BS 9999:2017 and Building Regulations Approved Document B.
Marketed under the name Beacon, the new range comprises a variety of products that are specifically designed to assist emergency evacuation situations in a wide range of buildings and venues – with the aim of assisting people with limited mobility to safely exit the building.
By adding this new category of products to its portfolio, ESP is providing contractors with access to yet another service that can be incorporated into the overall project design scheme. If a risk assessment requires the provision of a disabled refuge system on a project, ESP can offer the reassurance of a range of products and systems that meet with all the relevant standards.
At the core of the range is the Emergency Voice Communications System (EVCS) – this is the term used to describe a fixed, monitored and maintained, bidirectional, full duplex voice communication system to assist the orderly evacuation of disabled or mobility impaired people and enhance firefighters’ communication during emergencies.
The Beacon ‘Master Stations’ are the central point of the system, which combines Fire Telephone Handsets, Disabled Refuge Outstations and Emergency Alarms to form one fully integrated system.
There are two Beacon Master Station options available – a push button version with 2-8 lines, and a touchscreen version with capacity for up to 512 lines to support a wide range of communication devices. Both Master Stations are complete with large handset, simple user interface and includes status and fault monitoring. In emergency use the Master Station identifies the location of the Outstation that has been activated, with clear duplex audio to assist an evacuation process.
The Master Station is complete with backup battery function (battery to be supplied separately) that offers 24hr standby in event of mains power failure, plus three hours of voice communication supply in the event of an emergency situation.
Disabled refuge outstations
Disabled Refuge Outstations, known as ‘Type B’, provide a fixed point of communication in a building for users who require evacuation or assistance. Situated in refuge areas usually found in protected stairwells, the Outstation provides duplex audio to the Master Station, which is located in the building’s control room, or at the access points for the fire service.
The Beacon stainless steel ‘Type B’ Outstation offers handsfree operation, a compact design suitable for mounting on a double gang box and features clear LED status visibility. An ingress protected version is also available for external use.
Fire telephone handsets
Fire Telephone Handsets, known as ‘Type A’ Outstations, are for use by the fire and rescue service during an evacuation, allowing the officer at the fire control centre to communicate with other officers to control the evacuation. The ‘Type A’ Outstation activates a call to the Master Station to assist the fire and rescue service.
They provide a central point of communication in the event of an emergency and provide backup to the firefighter’s radio systems which can fail to operate during a fire in many tall buildings due to the large amounts of steel found in them. An ingress protected version is also available for external use.
Assist call range
The Beacon Assist Call Range comprises a number of expandable 3-part Assist Call Kits and accessory products which interface with the Master Station, identifying the location of the alarm upon activation. These include a Toilet Kit and a Bedroom Kit suitable for hotels, residential and student accommodation.
A number of IP-rated modules are also available as part of the Assist Call accessories range, suitable for wet rooms and for areas of high moisture and humidity. The options include Call Button, Call Plate and Cancel Plate.
For applications that require the Assist Call Kit but have no need for a disabled refuge or fire telephone integration, a 4-zone controller will be made available for use with both the Toilet Kit and Bedroom Kit. The 4-zone controller removes the need for a Master Station, supporting up to four separate Assist Call Kits. The controller provides clear zone identification and acknowledgement feature.
Standalone assistance alarm kits
ESP’s existing assistance alarm kit will be rebranded to Beacon. The 3-piece kit operates fully independently with no master station or controller required.
ESP’s new Beacon disabled refuge and assistance alarm range will be supported by a dedicated, UK based technical team, and will offer contractors and specifiers access to a free design service, compliant with the latest BS5839-9:2021 regulations.
ESP has produced a comprehensive brochure covering the whole of the Beacon range, along with examples of how the components of the system integrate. The brochure can be downloaded from the ESP website.
To view the full range of ESP solutions, click here