All products and services provided by Alerter Group plc fully meet all the relevant European and British Standards, as well as enabling the customer to meet their obligations under British Law.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order / Fire Scotland Act
Building Managers are required to carry out risk assessments and implement workable solutions to minimise fire safety risks in your premises. This must include the specific needs of disabled people. You need to consider how people with all disabilities will know the fire alarm has activated and then how they will be able to evacuate the building.
Disabled people are entitled to a similar or equivalent level of service and environment to non-disabled people. Not to have a fire alarm system for Deaf and hard of hearing people is clearly a case of discrimination. However, installing a system which is technically or operationally inferior to that provided for a hearing may also be deemed to contravene the Equality Act. (The Equality Act replaced the Disability Discrimination Act, widely referred to as the DDA).
Health & Safety at Work
Building Managers and Company Directors are required to evaluate and minimise risks in their premises. You need to consider the health & safety of two groups of people: firstly, Deaf people, and secondly hearing people you are asking or telling to assist in the evacuation other people (commonly called buddies/fire wardens). In the unfortunate event of a fatality, corporate manslaughter legislation could be applicable, it is therefore important to consider your requirements in this area and how to mitigate against these risks.
Civil Contingencies Act
In buildings that could be seen as potential terrorist targets, it is important to be able to communicate effectively with all people e.g. shopping centres, major transport hubs, sporting venues & large buildings. Most of these buildings will already have public address systems/voice fire alarms to direct people in the case of an evacuation to a place of safety (which may change dependent on the cause of the evacuation). Obviously, the needs of Deaf people must be considered.
British Standards are not laws and carry no legislative status. However, documents like Building Regulations - Approved Document B states that electrically operated fire alarms should work to the British Standard BS5839-1.
Adherence to British Standards can be seen as best practice. However, many building insurance policies also require compliance to relevant British Standards.
BS5839-1:2002 Fire detection and alarm systems for buildings.
The British Standard for design, installation commissioning and maintenance for fire detection and alarm systems now includes recommendations that should be followed when installing a fire alarm system for Deaf people.
It is important to recognise to fully comply with BS5839-1 the system must meet the relevant parts of EN54.This includes the technical design and testing of the equipment. This critically important compliance is often overlooked by other suppliers that are really only installing radio paging systems with an EN54 compliant power supply. All Deaf Alerter systems fully comply with all the relevant parts of BS5839 and EN54 that relate to fire alarms for Deaf and hard of hearing people.
BS8300: 2001 Disability Access
BS8300 states that consideration should be given to the installation of alarm/alerting systems for Deaf and hard of hearing people in conjunction with audible alarm systems. BS8300 suggests “flashing beacons or vibrating devices” but then goes on to say “certain frequencies in flashing/stroboscopic light systems can cause confusion, disorientation, and in some people, epileptic fits”.
BS 9999:2008 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings
BS 9999 gives recommendations and guidance on the design, management and use of buildings to achieve acceptable levels of fire safety for all people in and around buildings.
BS 9999 is applicable to the design of new buildings, and to alterations, extensions and changes of use of an existing building, with the exception of individual homes and with limited applicability in the case of certain specialist buildings. It also provides guidance on the ongoing management of fire safety in a building throughout the entire life cycle of the building, including guidance for designers to ensure that the overall design of a building assists and enhances the management of fire safety.
BS 9999 contributes to the protection of people in buildings, being aware of the types of people in the building and any special risks or needs (such as disabled people, see BS 8300 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people).
Bearing in mind the Equality Act, it is discriminatory not to include Deaf or hard of hearing people into a fire evacuation plan.