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Hyfire’s EvacWireless offers “rapid and efficient” solution to BS 8629 requirements

04 March 2021

WITH HIGH-rise residential building owners and managers under pressure to be ready for BS 8629, global wireless fire detection and alarm devices developer Hyfire has launched EvacWireless to offer rapid installation, simplified maintenance and minimal installation disruption.

Introduced in England and Wales in November 2019 and now mandatory in Scotland, 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 Buildings Containing Flats applies to many high-rise residential buildings and identifies the critical design criteria required to achieve effective evacuations controlled by the Fire and Rescue Services.

The British Standard is applicable to both new and existing buildings and  covers all residential properties over 18 metres in height. It provides recommendations about the evacuation alert system comprising the evacuation alert control indicating equipment (EACIE), along with the audible and visual alarm devices, to ensure simple, consistent and intuitive operation.

Des Dukes, Hyfire’s in-house expert on BS 8629, told Fire Safety Matters: “With an upcoming requirement to install these systems, and the necessity to minimise one-on-one contact created by the pandemic, we feel that wireless is the obvious answer for meeting the requirements of BS 8629. The EvacWireless solution involves minimal cabling and devices can be pre-programmed off-site to reduce contact between installers and building residents.”

Function independently

To ensure maximum reliability and system integrity, BS 8629 systems must function independently of the fire detection and alarm system, as well as from other building control systems and equipment such as lifts, gas valves, air handling systems or smoke control systems.

The EvacWireless system features evacuation alert control indicating equipment that can be operated by the Fire and Rescue Services along with audible and visual alarm devices in each apartment, thereby providing clear evacuation signals for occupants.

Dukes added: “The challenge for the fire industry is how to install evacuation devices in a large number of residential units while minimising contact with, and any inconvenience for, residents, all while complying with Health and Safety regulations and keeping to project timelines and costs. EvacWireless facilitates all of these desires, while still offering full compliance with BS 8629 Section 16 and BS 5839-1:2017.”

Intuitive functionality

Ease of system use and intuitive functionality are a key element of the stipulations laid down by BS 8629. That being so, EvacWireless is focused on simplifying and supporting Fire and Rescue Services’ operations in high-rise buildings. Instead of an LED display, the system uses a series of vertically mounted manual switches, mirroring the storeys of the building, with adjacent LEDs to notify a fault or to indicate that the evacuation zone is switched on.

The Hyfire solution uses the EvacGo evacuation alert panel developed by Advanced, whose established and trusted MxPro 5 technology is part of the mix.

Dukes concluded: “The integrity of any BS 8629 evacuation system is fundamental as it’s assumed that the fire will already have taken hold when the operation of the evacuation system is required. This makes a wireless evacuation system an even more logical option as cable infrastructure can often be vulnerable to fire damage. Hence the requirement for circuit isolators to be installed at the point of entry and exit to a zone and prior to cable penetration into a flat. In short, the less cabling in the system the better.”

The team at Hyfire is hosting free webinars and Q&A sessions about the new BS 8629, its recommendations and the critical design criteria involved. To learn what BS 8629 means for high-rise buildings, how the standards should be applied and how Hyfire wireless devices can help achieve BS 8629 requirements both quickly and economically, the readers of Fire Safety Matters are invited to register their interest online at https://www.sterlingsafety.co.uk/contact-form. The Hyfire team will be in touch with details of the next available session.