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Firefighters receive vital training on EvacGo evacuation alert systems

12 June 2023

FIREFIGHTERS FROM the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are receiving hands-on training in evacuation alert systems following the installation of an Advanced EvacGo system at the Cardiff Gate Training and Development Centre.

The Cardiff Gate Training and Development Centre trains around 1,400 firefighters in a range of advanced facilities, including industrial and domestic training buildings, a multi-purpose climbing and abseiling tower, a dedicated area for road traffic collision simulations, a confined space tunnel, a rope rescue structure and areas for hazardous materials.

Most recently, the Cardiff Gate Training and Development Centre opened a state-of-the-art Real Fire Training Facility that enables fire crews to undertake drills in a range of real-life scenarios. It’s the first of its kind in Wales.

Facilities like this are essential for ensuring firefighters receive the best possible training to respond effectively to a wide range of emergency scenarios. The addition of an EvacGo system now means that operational crews will be able to familiarise themselves with the operation of an evacuation alert system, ensuring that they’re able to use it successfully should they encounter such a system during the course of their work.

An evacuation alert system is vital when it comes to firefighters informing residents of a change in evacuation strategy during an incident. It’s an additional tool to use on the ground alongside existing methods of evacuation.

BS 8629:2019

EvacGo is compliant with BS 8629:2019 Code of Practice for the Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems for Use by Fire and Rescue Services in England and Wales. Following amendments to Approved Document B of the Building Regulations, evacuation alert systems became mandatory in new residential high-rise buildings over 18 metres in England and Wales in December last year.

For all other new-build and retrofit projects, compliance with BS 8629 is still seen as Best Practice. Many building owners are choosing to install evacuation alert systems in order to keep their residents safe.

Station manager Jason Lamport stated: “I would like to personally thank Advanced for providing us with the EvacGo panel. These simple high-rise evacuation systems are a huge step forward when it comes to the future roadmap of fire safety in tall and complex building.”

Lamport added: “During fire episodes, secure alert systems such as EvacGo will allow operational crews to evacuate residents floor-by-floor. These systems have already been installed in a number of high-rise buildings in Newport and Cardiff and there are plans for many more installations. Firefighters’ familiarisation with these systems is paramount for their successful use. Thanks to Advanced, we have the opportunity to give our crews and commanders realistic training on the latest high-rise building safety technologies.”

Making communities safer

Ken Bullock, business development manager for evacuation alert systems at Advanced, informed Fire Safety Matters: “I’m delighted that the EvacGo training panel will help to make communities in South Wales that much safer.”

Further, Bullock noted: “Following on from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and increased awareness of the importance of effective fire evacuation, we’ve seen a growing number of building owners choosing to install an EvacGo system, even in those instances where it’s not mandatory. On that basis, firefighters are increasingly likely to encounter them.”

Ultimately, it’s crucial that firefighters have an understanding of these systems before using them. “Advanced has worked closely with the National Fire Chiefs Council to accelerate this learning,” concluded Bullock.

*Further information is available online at www.advancedco.com