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Dynamic escape routing in the protection of buildings ensures maximum safety

When there is a threat of danger from smoke or fire, the top priority is to exit the building quickly and safely. In order to prevent emergency exit signs from leading people into the immediate danger zone, operators as well as professional electricians are already integrating innovative escape routing into new danger protection concepts. In this article you will read all about dynamic escape routing and how it differs from classic emergency lighting.

The TÜV-tested emergency and emergency escape lighting systems of the Labor Strauss Group offer a novelty which can not be assumed: If necessary, they can be upgraded to an escape route control without changing the existing cabling or the control panel.

The goal of the dynamic escape routing is to optimise self-rescue. Whether shopping centre, airport, exhibition centre or underground station: The exit signs in large buildings with many exits should always lead to the nearest exit – but what if danger emanates precisely from this area? The dynamic escape routing is linked to a danger detection system (e.g., fire detection control panel) and directs the persons that are present to a safe escape route, thereby avoiding the additional danger of panic and congestion. At the moment, acoustic signalling devices, voice alarm systems, optical signalling devices, escape route signs, emergency escape lighting and safety guidance systems are used for escape routing. However, the shortest escape route is not always the safest one.

“Currently, there are four categories of escape routing, with the future clearly moving in the direction of adaptive escape routing,“ explains Christian Taferner, Product Manager at Labor Strauss:

•    For workplaces which are smaller than 30 m2 and which do not have natural light, the static, passive escape routing is sufficient. Signs or permanently illuminated escape route signs are always in the same condition and do not react to a danger.

•    In the case of active escape routing, the signalling devices which point to the escape route are turned on in the event of danger, regardless of the dangerous situation. This includes safety and exit sign luminaires in standby mode and/or stored announcements of a voice alarm system.

•    Dynamic escape routing can point the way once. Depending on the danger situation, it can point the shortest way out of the danger zone and can route people via the remaining escape routes to a safe area or outside. However, the escape sign luminaires only adapt themselves to the dangerous situation once, at the beginning of the evacuation, and remain in this condition.

•    Adaptive escape routing allows rerouting escaping persons based on continuous monitoring of escape routes and considering a possible change in the dangerous situation. That means it constantly follows the development of the danger and is carried out automatically. During the escape, optical and/or acoustic assistance makes it easier to find the way, which results in a decisive gain in safety and time for self-rescue. Manual control by the rescue personnel is still possible.

“In recent years, electrical engineering has made enormous progress in the area of emergency escape lighting – not only due to the LED technologies – which has made the upgrade to dynamic and adaptive escape routing possible,“ says Christian Taferner. The “digital signs“ work like displays and can be programmed individually. Both variants are supplementary to the features prescribed by law. Due to the higher safety, numerous institutes including the German ZVEI already recommend dynamic or even adaptive escape routing. “All indications are that in the next few years, the dynamic and adaptive escape routing will become mandatory features. That is why we recommend that users, architects, authorities and electrical planners should already consider the dynamic escape routing in the safety concepts. If all aspects are considered early, it is possible to avoid having to replace the installation or cabling again afterwards at great expense,“ says Christian Taferner, who continues: “The installation and maintenance of the promising dynamic and adaptive escape routing is not fundamentally different from that for the active escape routing. The extra cost is minimal in relation to the additional protection.“

Innovation and service from a single source
If necessary, the emergency light systems of the Labor Strauss Group can be upgraded to an escape route control without changing the existing cabling or the control panel. They are provided with high-quality LED luminaires and can be controlled by means of a low power supply system or a central power supply system. With this current innovation, the Labor Strauss Group complements its established product portfolio and creates time- and cost-saving synergies through combined installation, service and maintenance work. Labor Strauss as leading European manufacturer of security systems has an extremely strong and experienced service team all over Austria and Germany, which assists customers quickly and dependably from planning to commissioning, servicing and maintenance.

At a glance – these standards and guidelines have to be observed:
- Workplace regulation
- OIB Guidelines 2., 2.1., 2.2 and 2.3 (valid in the building regulations of the individual states)
- EN 1838 (Lighting applications – Emergency lighting)
- OVE E 8101 (Installation regulations for electrical systems)
- EN 50172 (Emergency escape lighting systems)
- Workplace regulation
- Building law
- EN 50172                                                                     
     DIN VDE V 0108-100-1
     DIN VDE 0100-560
- EN 1838