06.04.2021

How IP-based airport alarms could save lives – and embarrassment

When airport control room personnel hear a pre-alarm, they have just minutes to make the most crucial decision: evacuate the airport and save lives, or sit tight and save the costly embarrassment of a false alarm. While safety always comes first, leaping at every false alarm damages both customer experience and company revenue, at a time when airlines can ill afford the cost.

The right combination of fire and voice alarm systems will enable security personnel to make this decision based on the real situation, not a best guess.

When a pre-alarm is triggered, staff have to walk to the location to check the situation. In larger airports, the time it takes to walk to distant terminals may be longer than the standard verification time – which, in traditional systems, is hardwired and can’t be changed. 

Understandably, the time is calculated to avoid a worst-case scenario for the whole airport. This means the whole airport often gets evacuated for nothing because the security team couldn’t dash to the site of the alarm in time to see everything was fine and switch it off.

When combined fire and voice alarm systems are integrated over IP, multiple verification times can be implemented by the airport safety manager based on the actual walking distance to each alarm site. If there really is an emergency, a smart fire alarm can sync with a voice evacuation system to evacuate only the areas that need evacuating, when they need it. This phased evacuation can be carried out automatically, or controlled manually by safety teams via the fire alarm panel. 

EN54-certified fire and voice alarms deliver the message to the terminals that are most at risk, and divert passengers from other terminals to the right exit at the appropriate time. This means panic can be avoided and evacuations can be carried out as quickly and safely as possible.

Posted by: Cavendish Search and Selection