The Fire Protection Research Foundation announced the release of “Guidance Document: Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings”, which was derived from a full project report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The guidance document was developed in response to information and messaging needs identified by the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, Technical Committee for Emergency Communication Systems.

“While we know that effective communication strategies are critical in the event of a building emergency, there’s been little guidance on how to best communicate to occupants and ensure an effective, safe emergency response,” said Amanda Kimball, a research project manager for the Foundation. “This guidance document helps system designers, building managers, and/or building emergency personnel create and disseminate effective communications in the face of rapid-onset disasters.”

Along with providing guidelines for the planning, design, installation and use of emergency communications systems, “Guidance Document: Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings” addresses ways to test messaging from a comprehension and occupant-response perspective. It also offers sample messaging for five different emergency scenarios, along with identifying questions and issues that need to be addressed in the future.

According to Kimball, the guidance report is based on a review of 162 literature sources from a variety of social science and engineering disciplines, with prioritization of the findings in each of the literature sources; the full project report was developed over a three-year period. The project was principally funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, along with additional support from multiple industry sponsors.