Fire safety in Universities – What you need to know about Disabled Refuge Systems

disabled refuge system in use

It is essential that across a University there is 100 percent compliance within all buildings, including residential student accommodation. Building regulations and fire safety requirements are set out and ensuring student’s safety should always be a top priority.

BS5839-9:2011 covers how to design, install and maintain emergency voice communication (EVC) systems with the Equality Act makes it the responsibility of a business/organisation to ensure there is access available and that there is no discrimination, with provisions made for the safe evacuation of all persons in an emergency. 

What is a disable refuge point/area?

With this in mind, disabled refuge areas are a designated space specifically designed for disabled people to await further assistance in the event of an emergency or evacuation. They should provide sufficient space for a wheelchair to manoeuvre, with a minimum size of 900mm x 1400mm.

The disabled refuge areas must have two-way communication that allows the disabled person to communicate with anyone responding to an emergency. 

What is a disabled refuge system (Emergency Voice Communication System)?

A Disabled Refuge System or EVC is a monitored, battery-backed is a; “System that allows voice communication in either direction between a central control point and a number of other points throughout a building or building complex, particularly in a fire emergency situation.”

Essentially, they consist of an Outstation or call point and Master Station, or control panel. Any person requiring assistance during an emergency or evacuation can call for help, which can be responded via a Master Station unit or a portable handheld receiver. This two-way communication provides reassurance to the person waiting for assistance.

How can we help?

Refuge Alerter® is a digital radio-based emergency voice communication system for disabled people, for use in the event of an emergency to help evacuate disabled people from a disabled refuge area.

Our user-friendly outstations are designed to be used by people with both physical and sensory disabilities. They are situated in all refuge areas, fixed to a wall at around 1m off the ground. 

Any call from a refuge area will communicate back to the Master Station, which is typically located in reception areas or Security Lodges. Our Master Station allows up to 999 refuge locations to be managed from one unit. The touchscreen interface allows easy management of all outstations and all Portable Refuge Communicators (PRC).

Additional systems like disabled toilet alarms and panic alarms can connect into our system with any activations signalled back to the Master Station or PRC.

Why radio?

By installing a radio-based, or wireless disabled refuge system, we can help you eliminate the need for costly and disruptive installations, whilst adding the unique ability to use a hand-held portable refuge communication throughout the system.

A radio-based system is also ideal across a multi-building/multi-campus set-up, as is often the case for Universities. It offers flexibility to control the system at a central point or multiple points across campus. 

If you would like to know more about how we can help your University or project please fill in your details below and a member of our team will be in touch: