Phased evacuation, a crucial aspect of emergency preparedness, ensures the systematic removal of individuals during emergencies, such as fires. In this guide, we’ll explore the concept of phased evacuation and its significance in building safety.

Phased Evacuation: A Systematic Approach

Phased evacuation is the organized process of evacuating a building in stages during an emergency. This method prioritizes the safety of individuals, ensuring that those in the most immediate danger have the opportunity to escape first.

Challenges in Emergency Evacuations

In many buildings, using elevators during a fire is not possible. Elevators often automatically descend to the ground floor when the fire alarm system activates. This leaves stairwells and other evacuation routes as the primary means of exit. In multi-level buildings, evacuating everyone simultaneously could lead to panic and congestion on these routes.

20 Fenchurch Street (The Walkie-Talkie Building)

How Phased Evacuation Works

Imagine a fire starts on the fourth floor of a multi-level building. People on this floor are at the highest risk, and those on the third and fifth floors are also in danger. Phased evacuation would instruct everyone on these three floors to leave immediately. Depending on the fire’s nature and the building’s layout, evacuation may extend to other floors or areas, systematically guiding everyone to safety.

Efficient Communication is Key

Phased evacuation allows for simultaneous messaging to different areas, alerting occupants to possible action. Live announcements can be made using priority microphones to selected or all building areas, ensuring effective control during evacuation.

Minimising Disruption

Phased evacuation helps manage disruptions caused by false alarms, as not all alarms prove to be genuine emergencies. Delaying evacuation in some areas reduces unnecessary disturbances if an alarm turns out to be a false alarm.

The Role of Voice Evacuation Systems

While phased evacuation can function without a voice evacuation system, such systems offer clear, spoken instructions through digitally stored messages. They eliminate the reliance on individuals to relay messages, especially in stressful situations.


Phased evacuation, whether facilitated by a voice evacuation system or not, plays a crucial role in systematic and safe building evacuations during emergencies. It prioritizes safety, minimizes disruptions, and ensures effective communication for the well-being of building occupants.

The importance of Phased Evacuation

Efficient Control During Emergencies

Voice Evacuation Systems during emergencies allow:

Why Phased Evacuation is Essential

In summary, phased evacuation is a crucial strategy that strikes the right balance between readiness and minimizing disruptions caused by false alarms. It preserves resources, maintains order, and, above all, enhances safety during emergencies.

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