How Can I Monitor Building Evacuations?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can I Monitor Building Evacuations?
RFID Journal Staff asked 14 years ago

I work at a large industrial facility, and am interested in identifying technology that would be able to ensure buildings are 100 percent evacuated during an emergency. We currently use a human area sweeper system to work toward accomplishing the stated objective, but that is less than perfect, and I was wondering if your company can offer a solution. I'm not interested in motion-sensing technology, as that would not address a scenario in which there is a person down or unconscious.

—Name withheld


I am unaware of an off-the-shelf system, but I do know of companies that have deployed such systems. BP has used an ultra-wideband (UWB) system at its Cherry Point refinery (see BP Refinery Uses RFID for Evacuation System). And Akers Yard, a shipbuilding company, is using a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) system (see Aker Yards Uses RFID to Ramp Up Worker Safety).

A good systems integrator can help you choose the most cost-effective solution. Passive worked well for Akers Yard because it was able to put tags on the back of hard hats, and was only concerned with whether someone got off a ship under construction during an emergency. If you need to know where someone is within the facility, a UBW or other active system might meet your needs.

If you e-mail me directly at, I can recommend a systems integrator near you, and spell out your options in a little more detail.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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