Targeted evacuation saves lives

Nobody wants to be exposed to a scenario like the one that occurred in 1996 on the arrivals level of Terminal A at Düsseldorf Airport (Germany). Even though it happened 20 years ago, it is still present to many readers. A fire there killed 17 people.

For places where large crowds of people are regularly present, i.e. airports, exhibition centres or leisure parks, it is all the more important to take precautions in advance to be able to initiate an orderly evacuation in the event of an incident. Due to increasingly complex building structures, fire brigades are now increasingly demanding passive evacuation of a building. In addition to structural and technical measures, this is intended to ensure that all persons have already been safely escorted out of the building before the fire brigade arrives so that fire-fighting operations can begin immediately.

Against this background, changing conditions often call existing safety concepts into question. New integrated solutions are therefore required. The aim is to effectively link fire detection, alarm, evacuation, emergency lighting and subsequent fire control systems. Against this background, it makes sense to use products from manufacturers that cover all the trades described and thus provide optimum risk management in the event of fire. Technically important aspects should also be taken into account, such as the use of loop bus technology and the use of components with radio technology.

Safety lighting to support evacuation measures

Interruptions in the mains supply inevitably lead to general lighting failures. This is directly associated with dangers to life and limb. In many cases, therefore, building and industrial safety legislation requires safety lighting. This should enable people to leave a public building without danger, to detect and use fire detection and fire-fighting equipment and to take safety measures. Emergency lighting systems are an important part of a building. Against this background, the fire alarm technology specialist “ESSER by Honeywell”, has included the emergency lighting product line in its extensive portfolio. Together with the voice alarm product line, it forms the new "Notification" business division. "The new Emergency Lighting product line complements the company's overall portfolio in the field of fire alarm technology in order to underpin its claim as an expert in building security. The goal is to ensure the targeted evacuation of buildings in the event of fire. In the event of a power failure, orientation in the affected buildings is often very difficult. With a second lighting system that is independent of the general supply and connected to a safety power source by fire-retardant cabling, it is possible to ensure that people in the building can leave safely and quickly. This also facilitates the deployment of rescue teams.


The awareness of the need to better protect people's lives in dangerous situations is constantly increasing. In addition to effective fire protection, professional voice alarm systems and emergency lighting can provide useful support for evacuation measures in buildings in order to save lives. However, not all open questions have yet been clarified in this context. For example, what has to happen if, in the case of dynamic escape route control, the escape route leads to an area that is now endangered by fire smoke? This example shows that experts still have to think about possible solutions at this point.

The short video animation "Evacuation" gives an insight into the combination of suitable measures and technologies for the topic dealt with.

The article was also published in the specialist publication Crisis Prevention.