Effective messaging and voice alarm

Issue 7 2021 Fire & Safety, Security Services & Risk Management

A voice alarm system generates an alarm that uses voice messages stored electronically or manually, delivered by a supervisor directly in an emergency.

The messages can be accompanied by other audio sources. But as it is intended as part of a fire alarm system, it must comply with the local appropriate fire regulations and standards.

A standard fire detection system in a building or establishment uses alarms with acoustic indications or sirens. In this case, the people in the building must know what the signal means and be prepared to act in a certain way by means of drills or previous training. If people do not know the signal and even if they know it, they may be confused in case of emergency.

This can cause additional hazards as pinch points are formed, because of reaction times or disorganised evacuations. In these cases, it is more efficient to use a safety message from a voice alarm system.

In addition, this type of equipment can also be used as public address systems for other communication purposes, such as: broadcast messages, background music, general pre-recorded announcements and even live messages. The advantage of a PAVA system is that the public are not only alerted to the emergency, but also receive immediate information on the appropriate action they must take at that time to be safe.

Especially with current developments around Covid-19 the public address system can be used to inform occupants about safety precautions, like social distancing or entrance/exit directions. In case of an emergency, of course, the voice alarm will always have priority.

The most important advantage of a PAVA system is that it can save lives in the case of an emergency. With the help of this system, it´s possible to reduce panic amongst the occupants of a building, it enables quick reactions and therefore helps to evacuate in a controlled manner, for example, with a sequential evacuation zone by zone.

When choosing a PAVA system, consideration should be given to interfaces, scalability and the system’s future capability for the whole life cycle of the project. The PAVA system should be capable of delivering a flexible adaptable solution tailored for applications like airports and other transportation hubs, shopping malls, sports stadiums, hospitals, hotels, universities or any corporate buildings.


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