Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Area of Refuge, What Is It?

An area of refuge is a safe place in a building that someone who can't use the stairs can wait to be rescued.

An area of refuge inside a building is Defend-in-Place area, it is a safe place to go to case of fire.
When a person can't navigate the building exits by themselves, in case of fire and smoke, an Area of Refuge is a place that one can go to in order to "Defend-in-Place".


By Douglas Krantz

Refuge -- A shelter or protection from danger, difficulty, etc.
Webster's New World College Dictionary


Why have an Area of Refuge?

You hear the message "Use the Stairs," you see the sign "In case of fire, don't take the elevator."

To get out of the building from the higher floors, when the building is on fire, the stairs are the only way out. However, some people just aren't physically able to take the stairs. What can those people do, other than seek refuge from the fire?

In a Building, What is an Area of Refuge?

In a building, an Area of Refuge is a safe place designed to protect people from a fire. It's a place for people to wait to be rescued by emergency personnel.

For the rescuers, it's a staging place to keep people safe until they can be evacuated.

Who Should Be Using an Area of Refuge?

Those using the place of refuge can be: Unless helping another person needing to use the place of refuge, everyone should evacuate the building when it's on fire.

Requirements for an Area of Refuge


Communications for the Areas of Refuge

To let rescuers know people are waiting in an Area of Refuge, a two-way voice communication system is provided.

There is a Central Control Point which is where the firemen or rescuers first come into the building.

At the Central Control Point, there are lights to indicate which Area of Refuge has someone calling for help. So the rescuers can talk directly to the person needing help, included at the Central Control Point is a talk/listen speaker with push-to-talk controls.

In each Area of Refuge, the two-way voice communication system consists of a talk/listen panel. On this panel is a: Also posted at each location are directions on how to use the communication system.

Anyone needing help in the Area of Refuge presses the call button. Once the call button is pressed in the Area of Refuge, one of two things happen. Either the building personnel, upon seeing that someone has called for help from an Area of Refuge, can investigate and assist immediately, or the Central Control Panel, after a short time delay, calls a monitoring company or 911.

Area of Refuge

The Area of Refuge protects people from fire and smoke. It is a safe place for people who can't use stairs to wait for rescue.

There are signs to tell everyone about the Area of Refuge, and a two-way communication system to let the rescuers know someone needs help.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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