Alarm system talks to special-needs pupils
To benefit from the capabilities of the latest PA/VA (public-address and voice-alarm) systems, the special-needs Drummond School in Inverness has replaced the system in its main school building, completed in 2008, with a Comprio D1 solution from Honeywell. It was recommended by Gerry McAloon of Bartec Fire & Security, a Morley IAS distributor, which has taken care of the fire-detection system for the school for the last 12 years.
Drummond School is a purpose-built educational facility for those with severe learning difficulties and complex needs. It has a capacity for over 90 pupils divided into 20 classes.
The Equality Act includes the concept of ‘reasonable adjustments’ which can be carried over into life safety. Following a full risk assessment, which considered the ability and most effective way for pupils to evacuate the building in an emergency, a PA/VA system was considered a suitable option when the main building was first constructed.
Ben Fothergill, Morley-IAS business manager for the north and Scotland, explains, ‘Studies have highlighted that a loud siren could cause confusion and panic amongst the pupils, particularly those who might have physical or mental disabilities.
‘PA/VA is therefore becoming increasingly popular in some schools as it can provide information on what to do in an emergency in a calm and reassuring way.
‘Furthermore, the latest state-of-the-art intelligent systems incorporate a number of essential features that can prioritise which levels to evacuate first as part of a phased evacuation strategy.’
To minimise disruption work, the new system was installed during the school holidays. The main task was to replace the existing rack. All the existing speakers and cabling were re-used.