Area of Refuge and the Requirements

Safe-Systems Area of Refuge Monitoring


What is an Area of Refuge?

An area of refuge is a designated location within a building specially designed to hold people safely during an emergency. The area of refuge is set aside for situations when evacuation may not be possible or is otherwise unsafe.

For example, patients in a hospital may not be able to use a stairwell to exit the building when there is a fire. People can wait in the area of refuge safely until rescued by firefighters or emergency rescue teams. This area may also have the name “area of rescue assistance.”

Who may utilize an area of refuge?

  • Elderly people
  • People with disabilities
  • Hospital patients
  • Sick people
  • Very young children or infants
  • Operators in a critical facility who cannot leave their station (military base, power station, prison)
  • Any person who cannot access an escape route
  • Any person assisting another person who is unable to escape
  • People on the upper floors of a building who cannot safely take stairs through lower levels where a fire is present

What is required to create an area of refuge?

  • Location adjacent to an emergency exit path
  • Signs designating where to go for shelter
  • A fire barrier for protection
  • Fresh air intake
  • Emergency lighting for power outages
  • A two-way voice communication system
  • Large enough for wheelchair accessibility
  • Located where it doesn’t block others trying to escape
  • In public buildings, it must exist on every floor above ground level

Communication systems for area of refuge:

  • A two-way voice communication system
  • Call button for those awaiting rescue in area of refuge
  • A confidence light to indicate an active call button
  • An acknowledgment light to show that someone at the central control point knows about the call for help

As a company that installs and maintains fire alarm systems in businesses and public buildings, Safe-Systems has experience in setting up area of refuge communication systems. All Safe-Systems fire alarm systems meet the testing requirements from the National Fire Prevention Association.

Public buildings and high-rise buildings are usually required by local building codes to have an area of refuge on every floor above ground level. Safe-Systems can help you meet local requirements and maintain your system on an ongoing basis.

Call 1.800.446.7519 to learn more about fire alarm and area of refuge systems. A live operator is ready to take your call, listen to your needs, and recommend an option that works best for you.


Resources:

Code Requirements for Emergency Evacuation Plans for the State of Colorado

Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control