If electro-acoustic systems are used for emergency alarms (electro-acoustic emergency warning systems), they must comply with a number of national and international standards and be certified in accordance with DIN 14675, which has been in force since 2003. The test questions also apply more broadly to the planning, operation and maintenance of voice alarm systems. But what exactly does an electro-acoustic emergency warning system do and how does it differ from a voice alarm system?
In short, an electro-acoustic emergency warning system is used for a targeted acoustic alarm, for example in the event of a fire. However, it isn’t part of the fire alarm system, but a stand-alone system. In the event of danger, the fire alarm system triggers an acoustic alarm signal that’s automatically sent to pre-programmed loudspeaker lines. To ensure that the system is ready for operation around the clock, it works with an emergency power system for a period of at least 30 minutes. This roughly corresponds to the time needed to evacuate a building. Specifications for the standby time are supplied by the local security authorities.
An electrical loudspeaker or public address system, on the other hand, is essentially used for imparting information – for example, in airports, railway stations or other public buildings.
What additional benefits do electro-acoustic emergency alarm systems offer?
In the event of danger, a voice alarm system offers several advantages over normal signalling. Particularly in complex building structures, a voice alarm system takes over the function of interpersonal communication. It warns, quickly and unmistakably, by means of speech. A mere acoustic signal can easily be perceived as non-binding and functions only one-dimensionally. In the event of an emergency this can, in a worst-case scenario, prolong the period between the alarm being sounded and the building being evacuated.
The voice alarm combines two important things: a loud, warning acoustic signal to attract the necessary attention and a verbal message with content that clearly calls for action. In other words, it communicates exactly what you must do and what you mustn’t do. This is particularly true in public buildings, stadiums or other places of assembly, schools, hotels and department stores. In such buildings, a voice alarm system is indispensable.
The actual design of the system is then subject to a number of other standards. The application standard DIN VDE 0833-4 (Part 4 – Voice Alarm) and the associated product standards of the EN 54 series for the power supply, the control panel and EN 54-24 for passive loudspeakers. EN 60268-16, which is linked to the above VDE standard, explains how the speech intelligibility of a voice alarm system is defined. In addition, one differentiates between voice alarm systems according to certain security levels.
Electro-acoustic emergency warning systems and voice alarm systems are complex systems. In an emergency, people’s lives depend on those systems working reliably. Concepture will help you plan and implement just the right system for your requirements profile.
Stefan MüllerAuthorised signatoryHead of Security Planning
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