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Alarm system ensures safe evacuations

10 November 2009

Baldwin Boxall's Vigil EVAS voice alarm system has been installed in the Caterpillar stand at Leicester Tigers' stadium. The new stand completes phase one of the £60M redevelopment at Welford Road.

Alarm system ensures safe and controlled evacuations
Alarm system ensures safe and controlled evacuations

The voice alarm system, installed by Argus Services Ltd, will ensure safe and controlled evacuation in the event of an emergency. Investing in a well-built voice alarm system enables security and safety staff to feel at ease with the knowledge that the system will activate the instant it is required to do so. In the meantime, for everyday events, the same system provides stadium staff with full public address / 'DJ' facilities and background music - creating a great atmosphere for the fans. Other benefits include the ability to record timed messages for announcements such as advertising forthcoming events, venue facilities and closing/opening times - total flexibility to keep the public and staff fully informed at all times.

With a state-of-the-art touchscreen panel forming the main method of control, the system installed at the Leicester Tigers stadium is simple to operate. The 22" panel displays a graphic layout of the site, enabling the operator to easily recognise each of the 17 zones. Simply by touching the relevant part of the screen the operator has complete control of paging (emergency or routine) to all or selected zones, can record and store messages, control background music, view system status and any faults should they arise - and much more.

The three-rack centralised system includes a Vigil EVAS dsp-controlled router and slave, controlling 33 Vigil2 amplifiers (totalling 9,922 Watts). Commenting on the project, Jerry Matthews (Technical Support Director), Argus Services said, "The layout and design of the stadium - as with this type of location in general - means that the specification for the voice alarm can be a complex one. The Leicester Tigers project was no exception. The support of Baldwin Boxall staff throughout, from design through to completion, ensured a smooth installation. This was a great project to be involved in and we look forward to working with Baldwin Boxall again."

With the potential for such large crowds in one area, a voice alarm system provides stadia management with the control required in the event of an incident; the last thing that is needed by any security force would uncontrolled panic. A voice alarm system with easily understood spoken messages (pre-recorded or live broadcast) ensures that everyone is fully informed. Bells and klaxon alarms are often, tragically, ignored.

A total immediate evacuation of an entire stadium would be wholly undesirable - other than in dire circumstances. Generally speaking, if a fire or an alert occurs in a small section of the stadium it is normal to evacuate the immediate and adjacent areas, whilst advising the rest of the stadium to stay put. A voice alarm system achieves this by the use pre-recorded 'evacuate' and 'alert' messages or control can be taken by live broadcast using the emergency microphone(s).

For obvious reasons, a voice alarm system MUST work - and be understood - when needed, a failure in the event of an emergency is simply not an option. The VIGIL EVAS voice alarm system is fully monitored and battery backed in accordance with all the relevant British standards and is designed and built to work first time.

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