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Evacuation of Tunnels

Directional Sound Evacuation Beacons have been installed in various UK tunnels, including the Queensway Mersey Tunnel, Hindhead Tunnel, Limehouse Tunnel, and Wallasey Tunnel, to upgrade the emergency escape facilities.

A beacon is installed along with the traditional ‘running man’ exit sign over each of the emergency refuges.  The beacons are switched on at the same time as chaser lights to identify the location of the refuges even under conditions of reduced visibility.

In speaking for Merseytravel, Chair Councillor Mark Dowd said “We are totally committed to improving escape provisions to meet the highest modern safety standards.  The addition of Directional Sound Beacons at the entrances to the refuges enhances the safety of the tunnel in the event of an emergency.”

Independent tests were conducted in The Netherlands by TNO Human Factors (an independent test laboratory) into the use of Directional Sound for the evacuation of a smoke filled tunnel. The tests focussed on measuring the importance of briefing people as to the meaning of the sounds. The results were very positive - It is clear from the tests that when properly briefed, the DSE system guided 4.5 times as many people to safe exit doors as the existing signage technology used in the tunnel. 

Inevitably, legislation will call for better standards in many areas where a Localizer sound pattern will enhance safety. The evacuation tragedies in the Mont Blanc and St Gottard tunnels illustrates how important it is to guide people quickly to the nearest escape door.

Download summary fact sheet on DSE in tunnels (287k pdf)

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