Public Address (Paging) Systems
Public address (paging) systems may be used to update facility personnel of the
status of an abnormal or emergency condition, changes in facility status, or major
facility events either in progress or anticipated. Administrative policies and
procedures should address the effective control of the public address system.
Public address systems, if used, should be designed to be heard throughout a
facility. When using the public address system, senders should speak slowly,
deliberately, and in a normal tone of voice. Since the paging system is heard
throughout the facility, the sender normally need not specify a receiver. An
exception to this rule would be during casualties when the control area would direct
actions using the public address system.
Announcements of abnormal or emergency conditions should be made twice. If an
audible alarm signal is used in conjunction with the public address system to warn
personnel of an abnormal or emergency condition, the alarm should be activated
once, before the announcement. The alarm signal will alert personnel to listen for
the message that follows. Where noise levels are excessive, other means of
communicating emergencies should be considered, such as flashing lights.
Repeatbacks and the identification of sender and receiver may be omitted.
When using the public address system to announce remote starting of major
equipment, the announcement should be made, followed by a short pause, and
then the equipment started. The pause is required to allow personnel to move
away from the equipment.
If other communication systems are used to access the public address system (e.g.,
facility dial phone number that actuates the public address system), the control area
should have the capability to override those systems. The use of the override
should be authorized only for emergency announcements and authorized tests.
Policies and procedures should clearly define when and who may use the public
address system from these other sources.
Portable radios are considered any communication system where at least one
station is remote and portable. They are an effective means of communicating with
personnel who tour large work stations, especially when the tour takes them away
from stationary communication equipment. Portable radios used in normal facility
operations may also be used in an emergency to communicate with mobile units.