Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems for Buildings - Code of Practice


This British Standard covers how to design, install and maintain emergency voice communication (EVC) systems. It is aimed at:

  • Those responsible for designing, installing, maintaining, and operating an EVC system.

  • Anyone responsible for evacuating buildings.

  • Facilities and building managers, and building control officers.

It gives recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of emergency voice communication (EVC) systems as part of a fire detection and alarm system, and covers systems with components linked by wires, wirelessly, or a combination of both. It applies to the use of EVC during an emergency fire situation at buildings, including sports stadiums, entertainment, and other public venues, and emphasizes the correct use of an EVC in broadcasting evacuation messages and not in raising the fire alarm.


The Standard relates to the use of EVC in communicating with people in refuges; with fire wardens, fire marshals, and firefighters in firefighting lobbies; and with stewards at sporting events.


The use of EVC systems, other than in fire emergency situations, by disabled persons and others, although not precluded, is not covered in detail.


Other than in exceptional circumstances, EVC systems are not intended as the means of raising a fire alarm instead of manual call points.


BS 5839-9:2021 aims to:

  • Ensure that high standards of reliability, safety, and security are achieved, together with acceptable standards of performance.

  • Help anyone who installs, maintains, or uses EVC systems to stay up to date with current regulatory and legislative requirements.

  • Supply comprehensive guidance from planning to training, monitoring, inspection, routine inspection, and certification.

  • Provide guidance on how to install an effective emergency EVC system as part of a fire safety strategy.

  • Help users to increase trust and manage risk better as well as enter new markets and improve efficiency.

The standard is available here.


British Standards August 2021

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