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01 October 2019

Safer, quicker evacuation – Improving the safety of evacuation routes

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Safer, quicker evacuation – Improving the safety of evacuation routes

As a result of high profile tragic events around the world, the conversation around ensuring public safety in buildings has become top of the agenda. This awareness around public safety has forced building community leaders to re-evaluate their safety strategies –  ultimately highlighting ways to prevent issues, detect danger, alert and evacuate in case of emergencies.

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That said, proper planning can only go so far on its own. What’s important is for those within the planning stages to implement measures that can help in the long term. For example, evacuation planning is vital in large buildings as they face a multitude of potential hazards, whether it be fire, terrorism, civil unrest, major crime or extreme weather.

Studies into prominent incidents around the world, along with academic research into crowd behaviour during emergencies, revealed that panic often leads to congestion and difficulty in locating safe exits – which can inhibit the process of evacuation.

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So how do buildings owners and managers ensure the fastest and safest exit of occupants in rapidly changing circumstances?

One solution is to implement adaptive evacuation technology, which has the ability to change in response to movement within the environment – in real time. Currently, in the majority of buildings, conventional static emergency exit signs are still the primary source of guidance. However, in the case of an emergency, predetermined routes may become impassable – especially as the location or nature of the threat evolves. Adaptive evacuation provides greater flexibility through signage, and can illuminate to redirect building occupants to the safest and fastest exit – altering the directions displayed in accordance to the given threat.

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