National standards for evacuation compliance

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Issued in February 2020 in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standard Act, the updated SANS 10400-T: 2020 standard outlines the compliance requirements for both voice alarm and evacuation and fire detection systems.

According to the standard, buildings over four storeys high and/or in excess of any floor area of more than 5000 m², require a voice alarm system. These different types of buildings include (but are not limited to) high risk commercial service, moderate risk commercial service, low risk commercial service, high risk industrial, moderate risk industrial, hospitals, office and dormitories.

What is a voice evacuation (VE) and voice alarm (VA) system?

The primary purpose of a VE/VA system is to provide voice-prompted guidance to evacuate a building during an emergency (such as fire, bomb threat, viral outbreak and industrial accidents, chemical spills etc.) in order to prevent loss of life and property.

The VE/VA system has the benefit of providing calm and clear live, pre-recorded, and/or customised voice messages to guide occupants to safety; studies show that clearer instructions cause less panic and confusion in an emergency situation and the differentiating factor of the VA/VE is the live message capability, which distinguishes it from a voice sounder.

Added benefits of a TOA VE/VA system:

• Can be integrated with most fire detection systems (provided that sufficient relays are supplied).

• The same system can be used for the secondary benefits of public address, zone or all-call paging and background music.

• TOA’s systems are scalable and flexible, meeting the requirements for any type or size of building.

• TOA VA/VE Features include EN54-16 certified, DSP (high quality audio), energy efficiency, centralisation/decentralisation, phased evacuation, remote maintenance via LAN, event logging, emergency power supply/backup and more.

• An extensive variety of audio speakers (EN54 certified or non-certified) are available for various applications and environments, including horns, explosion proof, chemical room speakers etc.


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