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November 8, 2023


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Latest revision made to voice alarm systems code of practice BS 5839

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has made its latest revision to the fire detection and alarm systems code of practice related to voice alarm systems.

Eighth in an extensive series of British Standards on fire detection and alarm systems, BS 5839-8:2023 gives recommendations on what voice alarm system to use and how to use it.

The code of practice can be used for guidance in the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of voice alarm systems. It applies to both new and existing systems.

Specifically, the code of practice is designed to support and provide guidance to designers, manufacturers, ARCs, architects and building professionals, fire and health and safety departments and installers, in a variety of ways:

  • The latest guidelines and specifications relating to specific voice alarm systems
  • Systems that automatically broadcast speech or warning tones as well as systems with a manual facility for broadcast of live or pre-recorded speech and sounds
  • It is designed to help users increase confidence in their products and enter new markets
  • To help users accelerate product innovation and better manage the risk associated with these products

What’s new about BS 5839-8:2023

As a full revision of the code of practice, BS 5839-8:2023 reflects changes made to BS 5829-1, BS5839-6 and the BS EN 54 series.

It incorporates the latest regulatory and legislative requirements for building evacuation, including for disabled people, and technical changes since the last edition was published.

Technical changes include:

  • A new recommendation regarding voice alarm loudspeakers and disabled refuges
  • Simplification of the equation for calculating I2 for standby batteries
  • A new clause on cyber security


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