Advanced’s evacuation alert system keeps residents safe

Advanced’s EvacGo evacuation alert system helps keep residents safe

Advanced has supplied its EvacGo evacuation alert system to three social housing tower blocks in Halewood, Merseyside.

The three nine-storey tower blocks, Woolton Views, The Fairways, and Ashton Park on Sherbourne Avenue, Halewood, have benefitted from the installation of three Advanced EvacGo systems, one in each block. EvacGo is compliant with the BS 8629 Code of Practice which sets out the criteria for the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in England and Wales.

ABM Fire and Security undertook the complete supply, installation and commissioning of the EvacGo systems which feature a four loop, eight zone evacuation alert panel in each 48-flat tower block. The three buildings are owned by independent housing association, Livv Housing Group, and partially managed by an onsite manager.

The EvacGo panels are housed inside robust, security-rated GERDA enclosures meeting the STS 205 class BR2 security rating with patented BS EN 1303-compliant lock. This minimises tampering and restricts access to fire and rescue service personnel only, who are able to access the controls using a patented key, as stipulated in the BS 8629 code of practice. Argus Vega visual alarm devices and interfaces have been installed in all 144 flats to ensure that hard of hearing and deaf residents are kept safe and informed.

Tony Cahill, Executive Director-Property from Livv Housing Group, says, “When we were selecting an evacuation alert system for the three tower blocks, it was essential that it met the criteria for BS 8629. Advanced’s EvacGo is already installed in all of our other tower blocks and it ticks all the right boxes for us to meet best practice and to protect our customers in the event of a fire.”

Shaun Scott, Emergency Evacuation Systems Application Engineer at Advanced, says, “Following the Grenfell Tower enquiry and the increased awareness of the importance of effective fire evacuation, we have seen an increasing number of housing associations and landlords installing an EvacGo system. While the Building Regulations make evacuation alert systems mandatory in new residential buildings over 18m, we’re finding that, like Livv Housing Group, many landlords of smaller buildings or those being retrofitted, are keen to meet best practice and keep their residents safe.”

All Advanced evacuation alert systems are custom-manufactured to reflect each individual building’s evacuation zones and have been developed to provide a bespoke solution that allows the fire services to control evacuation floor by floor according to the severity and location of the fire. The guidance states that the evacuation alert control system should be installed where a ‘stay put’ policy is in force, so that it can be used to facilitate a timely and ordered evacuation for all residents. An evacuation alert system is vital to help fire and rescue services inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy during an incident and can be used alongside existing methods of evacuation to improve safety for residents. It must be standalone, with its only function being to assist fire and rescue services in the evacuation of the building.

Installation of evacuation alert systems is now mandatory in all new build residential apartment blocks over 18m. Mandatory from December 2022, Part B (Fire Safety) of the building regulations in England offers guidance to ensure tall buildings are made safer in England, as part of a wider package of reforms. However, for all other new build and retrofit projects, complying with BS 8629 is still seen as best practice, which is why Advanced’s EvacGo has been selected and installed at the Woolton Views, The Fairways, and Ashton Park blocks.

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