Managing emergency exits in airports

Managing & securing emergency exits

Like all public-access facilities, airports are subject to severe conditions, but also ones set out in standards relating to rapid evacuation in the event of immediate danger.

Public areas

Public areas, being freely open and accessible to the general public, are without doubt the most complex areas to protect.

What’s more, luggage for departing travelers has not yet been checked.

In the event of a risk of fire or a warning of an attack, this area needs to be evacuated safely, and as quickly as possible.

In normal conditions, the emergency exits in an airport are permanently locked, in order to prevent any intrusion via these access routes.

In the event of an urgent need, it must therefore be possible to unlock them immediately either via the central emergency exit command system (UGCIS) or by activating the ‘request opening’ system.

Reserved area

Emergency exits in the reserved area accessible to travelers holding a travel document are also subject to central control.

The access routes to a defined zone are all connected to the security PC and managed continuously and in real time via a Central Emergency Exit Command System (in French: Unité de Gestion Centralisée des Issues de Secours, UGCIS).

The security PC is thus able to control the immediate unlocking of emergency exits in the event of danger or fire.

But it can also extend the locking period if a malicious intruder is detected, for up to 3 minutes.

When there is no request for emergency exit, the security PC can then remotely monitor the closing of one or more sets of doors.

The secured reserved area

This area, as the name suggests, needs to be permanently secured due to its proximity to the tarmac and to aircraft. The emergency exits for this area are therefore also all under central control via the security PC and permanently locked.

In the event of a request to exit via an emergency exit, the security PC has an initial period of 8 seconds for elimination of any doubts.

Doubts can be eliminated thanks to direct visualization of the door or via video-surveillance, if the system is connected.

At this stage, there are two options: either to immediately release all accesses, where necessary, or to delay unlocking for a second period, this time for 3 minutes.

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