Occupant Warning System (OWS) & EWIS Systems

Though conventional fire alarm warning systems alert occupants of a building to the presence of an emergency, they do not provide detailed information, such as evacuation routes or instructions.

Occupant Warning System (OWS) is an enhanced system for fire alarm alerting and evacuation control in larger or more complex buildings. OWS system generates the standard “rising whoop” evacuation signal and plays a voice message with evacuation instructions. It enables a Public Address (PA) message throughout the building, but does not have the same ability to divide the building into zones as an EWIS system.

In EWIS (Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System), instead of the whole building receiving the evacuation alerting signal simultaneously, the premises are instead subdivided into multiple evacuation zones. In response to signals from the fire alarm system, the EWIS system controls a zone-by-zone staged/phased evacuation according to a pre-programmed scheme.

With an EWIS these messages can be customized for various types of installations, and multi-lingual capabilities are usually available. In addition, a preliminary “Alert” tone, with separate verbal message, can be played to zones that have not (yet) reached the evacuation stage. In a high-rise, for example, this would typically mobilise evacuation wardens.

A EWIS system is also designed to enable either the fire service or a designated building warden to take manual control of the evacuation, including directing Public Address (PA) messages to all or selected evacuation zones.
An (optional) Emergency Intercommunication (warden telephone) system allows building wardens or fire-fighting personnel to communicate with the master evacuation control panel to coordinate evacuation efforts.

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