Disabled Refuge Systems

Newton Electrical Systems Limited has installed several Disabled Refuge Systems (EVC) within the commercial and student accommodation projects we have worked on recently and in the past.

The system has to be designed to meet the demand of BS5839-9:2011 – Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings Part 9: Code of practice is for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of emergency voice communication systems.

It is a legal requirement that all new non-domestic buildings with more than one storey provide ‘refuge’ areas for occupants that require help during the evacuation of a building. People that might use this facility include the physically impaired, wheelchair users, pregnant women, or anyone that requires assistance in exiting a building or area to safety.

An EVC system enables communication between strategic points throughout the building or site and the central control point(s). EVC systems are generally needed in the following situations:

  • a) In any building or sports or similar venues where there are disabled people or people who may have difficulty negotiating the evacuation route.
  • b) In buildings with phased evacuation and/or firefighting lifts where it facilitates secure communications for building managers, fire wardens and attending fire officers.

Using a disabled refuge unit, the person waiting for assistance is able to speak directly with personnel in control of the evacuation. This can provide reassurance, keep the person updated with the situation and confirm that help is on its way.