Sure Evacuation With RFID
How using RFID can help prevent fatal accidents during evacuations
- By Karolina Kozlowska, PhD.
- April 01, 2018
The greatest nightmare of an evacuation coordinator is to
finish the evacuation before all employees reach the
assembly point. Such disasters can be prevented with
RFID UHF technology because it gives complete knowledge
on the location of every person that needs to be
evacuated at any time of the work day.
The aim of every evacuation is unchangeable: to lead out from an
endangered area all employees and, of course, it should be done in the
quickest way, so staff will be safe as soon as possible. During the evacuation
process, the coordinator should control, in real time, the location
of every single person: who has already left endangered building, who
has reached which assembly point (there may be a number of them and
they are run by separate coordinators) and who is still in building.
However, current methods do not guarantee the optimal course of
evacuation. Therefore, they do not guarantee employees the full safety
in a situation of sudden danger. Change is brought by RFID UHF technology,
that it may be used for creating evacuation systems.
IT STARTS BEFORE A SIREN
Evacuation commences even before any danger occurs. After all, the
key information for companies is how many employees are on campus
at any given time and which ones should be led to an assembly point.
Naturally, the location of certain employees will change during the
work day. People move between buildings, leave one and enter another.
When a siren sound rips through the air, a coordinator theoretically
knows who should be moving to a safe place, but if he or she lacks the
list of people and where they are, for who is he or she responsible?
Therefore, precise location of staff should be constantly monitored.
In many factories, there are still systems where a coordinator can rely
on only themselves when it comes to verifying who has reached an
assembly point. The coordinator either counts employees, reads their
names aloud or circulates among them, ticking the names of spotted
It is easy to conclude that such a method is rather imprecise and its
imprecision generates a risk that can have tragic consequences. One
man may be omitted or someone’s name could be ticked accidentally
and when evacuation is finished, somebody can simply be left behind.
This manual method has too many included risks when it comes to
the lives of evacuees. Simply put, this is a zero-one solution: somebody
is present or somebody is absent. If someone is absent, how do you find
out where that person is?
Bearing in mind the safety of your staff, it is recommended to look
closer at RFID UHF technology and what conveniences it brings for
evacuation coordinators, how it increases the chances for successful
evacuation and how evacuation changes itself when RFID UHF is used.
What makes it remarkable, are its features. It can automatically detect even 300 markers (RFID UHF tags) within one second. Markers
can be read from eight meters and the read precision is 99.7 percent.
Finally, a marker can be correctly identified even through obstacles
(through clothes or cardboards), without visual contact between RFID
UHF reader and tag.
These features make RFID UHF the perfect tool for all identification,
scanning and identifying processes. It has been proved by many
RFID UHF implementations such areas as retail, logistics or aviation.
RFID UHF technology became popular due to its tags. Compared to
other markers, especially beacons, they stand out with great variety of
sizes and shapes. A battery is not required for RFID UHF tags to work
continuously. It makes them ready to mark various objects in countless
Such wide range of applications makes RFID perfectly suitable for
evacuation systems. This technology gives coordinators full knowledge
and increases the safety level of evacuated people.
RFID MAKES DIFFERENCE
Evacuation system based on RFID consists of readers, antennas, and
RFID tags. These tags—in a form of light and convenient lanyard—
contain information about every employee. The person's name and
group to which they have been assigned by administration. Data written
on lanyard is read by antennas and then transmitted to readers.
From there, it goes to computers, tablets or smartphones used by managers
and evacuation coordinators.
In this way, employees are being monitored in a real time. When
danger occurs, coordinators immediately know who must be evacuated
and staff know exactly what to do. Their only duty is simply go to
assigned assembly point. When people exit, they are automatically and
collectively identified due to lanyard-tags they carry with themselves.
Simultaneously, when they leave, a coordinator is notified who is leaving
building. The number of people does not matter: RFID UHF technology
perfectly handles the simultaneous identification of many
employees. Because of the aforementioned precision (99.7 percent), the
risk of omitting any man or incorrectly scanning tag is practically none.
The same mechanism works at assembly point. Installed antennas
correctly recognize incoming employees (single and groups), sending
information to the reader and then to the coordinator. By looking at
the screen of a coordinator's computer or any mobile device he or she
can easily see who is in a safe place. The coordinator can check who is
still in a potentially endangered area and can also verify which employees
reached other assembly points.
STRAIGHT WAY TO SAFETY
It is impossible to overlook the technology advantages of RFID UHF,
especially in terms of increasing evacuation safety. Thanks to its scalability
and simple software integration with applications used in factories,
it can be used in every company, regardless of
its area or number of personnel. By using RFID
UHF for evacuations, the risk of fatal accidents is
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.