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How to improve evacuation efficiency

by Geny Caloisi

Health and safety in public spaces is about sensibly managing risks to protect the individuals that regularly use or visit a building, be it a hospital, hotel, office block, shopping centre or single retail site. An important factor in any life safety initiative is the efficient evacuation of people, particularly those who are not familiar with a building’s layout, which is now made more achievable with the latest emergency lighting system from Hochiki.

Emergency lighting remains an important part of any fire safety approach, especially if advanced control options are available. What is crucial today for any building is to have reliable emergency lighting with clear signage to provide directional assistance when its most needed.

FIREscape Nepto

Japanese manufacturer Hochiki has been working in the emergency lighting sector since 2009 and, building on its experience, in April 2023, launched its new FIREscape Nepto emergency lighting system. FIREscape Nepto is the latest generation of intelligent self-testing and self-monitoring emergency lighting systems that is both cost-effective and and in line with regulations.

Fully compliant with BS5266, and similar to its predecessor, FIREscape Nepto it is based around an addressable emergency lighting control panel with self-contained LED-based Lumineers and exit signs.

FIREscape Nepto is also environmentally friendly as it is produced from fully recyclable materials and incorporates energy-saving LED technology that helps to reduce CO2e emissions.

Units are interconnected with screened, extra-low voltage (40V) cables and have their own backup batteries to power devices during power outages of three hours (as prescribed by BS 5266). The low operating voltage of the system, along with its ability to continually self-test and monitor itself, make installation and maintenance quick, easy, and less expensive than a central battery or mains-powered system.

The new units with a built-in battery come with a 10-year battery life warranty. The new nickel metal hydride battery technology is proven to be far more efficient and better suited to the application, providing a slimmer profile to the units. The recessed luminaires negate the use of the recess adapter and our far more aesthetically pleasing with a smaller overall footprint and the potential to increase the IP rating with a simple gasket kit eliminating the need for expensive enclosures in some circumstances. Maintenance becomes simpler and far more cost-effective with a reduction in battery replacements.

Scalability and Flexibility

Hochikis FIREscape Nepto new panel is 100% compatible with its predecessor, the EL -2 (Nepto 254) keypad from the previous FIREscape Range. This can be used to interrogate any panel within the network, not just those physically connected to it.

FIREscape Nepto control panel provides backwards compatibility with existing Firescape devices it can support two lines, each with up to 127 devices. Its accompanying software is laid out similarly to the FIREscape software that installers will be familiar with. All panels are now networkable with an additional network card.

FIREscape’s Nepto range is incredibly flexible and can be configured to suit any installation. A Nepto control panel can also be networked to secure large, multiple buildings from a single location.

An extensive range of standard, high-powered and recessed luminaires complements a full suite of directional, fully BS EN ISO 7010 compliant exit signs to provide emergency lighting to any environment.

Photometric data for the FIREscape Nepto units has been third-party approved and verified, enabling the installer to design an aesthetically pleasing emergency lighting system which meets all legislative requirements for total peace of mind.

The range also includes a variety of accessories, including an I/O unit and a common luminaire/exit sign mounting base.

What problems does FIREscape Nepto solve?

The FIREscape Nepto is a fully monitored, self-testing system. The system’s control panel continuously monitors luminaires and exit signs. The system will quickly locate and identify any uncharged battery or device fault, ensuring quick and easy maintenance. Additionally, completed test reports are stored in the panel’s memory and can be printed for end-user records, as required by EN 50172.

FIREscape Nepto is a feature-rich system with adjustable lighting levels, an intuitive graphics package, bi-coloured status LEDs, day and night modes and the ability to program units as maintained or non-maintained. The wide variety of system features and product accessories not only helps to make installation simple but also enables the installer to provide a flexible and cost-effective solution tailored to the requirements of the building and building owner.

When used in conjunction with third-party software, FIREscape Nepto can be connected to a Building Management System or a graphics package. Having remote central control helps to build management to increase staff productivity, manage maintenance more efficiently, and effectively monitor energy consumption. Central control is particularly beneficial when working on a large or complex site.

Future looking

FIREscape Nepto has been designed to include a connection to the cloud, which is planned to be launched after the second half of 2023. The cloud connection will enable remote and instant reporting and monitoring 24/7.

This means engineers can fix some minor problems remotely without even needing to travel to a site, or without having someone who may not know what they are looking at relay the information over the phone. The biggest benefits here are reduced site visit costs and human error.

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