International Patents Pending
The EvacLite Running Man Logo and Three Arrow Array are registered Trademarks of EvacLite under No 2519260
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in the UK
Newhaven Enterprise Centre
Tel: +44(0)1273 61 50 51
EvacLite Ltd is registered in the United Kingdom: GB06833103
VAT No: GB 927 707 304
EvacLite and the three arrow array are registered ® Trademarks.
EvacLite Dynamic signage is proprietary technology & and protected by International Patents Pending.
Supported by the UK Trade and Investment.
© EvacLite Ltd, 2015
All Rights Reserved.
From the left: Peter Mills, Barclays Business Manager, Brian Stevens & Bernard Mc Donagh, Co Founder Evaclite, Norman Baker MP
Two Sussex entrepreneurs are celebrating after the experience of struggling to find the exit in a hotel inspired them to invent an award winning emergency exit signage system.
Brian Stevens and Bernard Mcdonagh were running a business that helped companies to ensure they were compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act when they found themselves unable to find the way out of a large old hotel in Brighton.Brian Stevens and Bernard Mcdonagh were running a business that helped companies to ensure they were compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act when they found themselves unable to find the way out of a large old hotel in Brighton.
It struck them that if they could not find their way out under benign conditions they would have little chance in an emergency. They decided to investigate improved signage which would show the safest exit from a building in an emergency and created their new company – EvacLite.
Brian said: “The standard passive emergency exit signs have been unchanged for years and they are usually placed high up above doors, smoke rises so the signs can be obscured if there is a fire. We saw an opportunity to use some of the latest lighting technology to develop something that could save lives.”
The business partners came up with a completely different approach to the traditional oblong green box which involved the use of flashing LED arrows which direct people to the best exit. They react to a fire alarm system activation so they start to flash immediately that the fire alarm is operated but will go out once the alarm is cleared down.
They have also developed a more sophisticated version of the system in which the signs can show a green arrow in either direction or a flashing red cross which stops people from taking that route. The signs can either be operated from a CCTV centre allowing operators to identify where an emergency is and use the signs to guide people away from it. They can also be connected to sophisticated systems which have algorithms which map the likely spread of a fire and guide people to a safe exit route.
Bernard said: “The systems can be effective in a variety of situations ranging from earthquakes to fires and terrorist attacks and we are in discussion with customers in the US, New Zealand and Japan. We have arranged for a business based in Kent to develop and produce the first run of the signs and we plan to have production partners in the US and New Zealand in the future.”
The business is part of a consortium involved in an EU Funded project called “Getaway” which includes the University of Greenwich and six other companies along with Transport for London. Professor Ed Galea, Director of the university based Fire Safety Engineering Group submitted the signage project for the Guardian University Awards under the Research Impact category and under stiff competition were announced winners at the ceremony in London.
The consortium has been investigating the most effective way of clearing large numbers of people from dangerous situations and the signage has been tried out in a variety of scenarios including the University of Greenwich campus and two evacuation trials at a rail station in Barcelona. The trial have been an overwhelming success, in the Greenwich trial the new signage was noticed by 77% of evacuating people compared to 38% for standard signs.
Brian Stevens continued: “While standard emergency signage points the way to an exit what happens if that's the way danger is? Our signs have the potential to make a real difference to the effective evacuation of buildings.”
The company has been supported in their development by their bank Barclays and business manager Peter Mills. Brian Stevens said: “Barclays have been helpful and supportive and Peter is excellent. He is approachable and quickly responds to any questions we have. We will be working closely with Barclays as the business expands.”
Peter Mills, Barclays Business manager said: “It is always a pleasure to help a customer to achieve their ambitions, especially when the company has the potential to save people’s lives in emergency situations. Brian and Bernard have a unique product with a potentially global market and I look forward to supporting their success long into the future.”
MP for Lewes Norman Baker (pictured far right) visited the entrepreneurs to hear about the business and their plans for the future. He said: It’s really good to see a local company coming up with a niche innovation that has the potential not only to improve public safety and save lives but also to generate significant export earnings for the UK. The LED exit signs are a great idea and show that sometimes the simple idea is the most effective.
From left to right: Peter Mills, Barclays Business Manager, Brian Stevens & Bernard Mc Donagh, Co Founders of EvacLite, and Norman Baker, Home Office Minister and MP for Lewes.