Tagevac is an emergency evacuation system, providing a simple, colour-coded and fail-safe procedure. Customers are supplied with tag stations in each zone of a building. Fire wardens physically remove the tag when their zone has been checked and evacuated and add it to the control board stationed outside. This builds up an instant picture of the status of each part of the building for the arriving emergency services.
Tagevac partnered with Viking Signs in a project to test their design and eventually manufacture the components of the system. Each order is created bespoke to the customer’s own specific requirements.
Martin Reed is the Managing Director of Tagevac.
Creating a fail-safe emergency system: what can you rely on when everything else fails?
“I’d been in the fire safety/emergency planning market for many years when I came across a serving fire officer who had created a bespoke evacuation system for a school we were working with. It was quite large, bulky and impractical but it built on existing methodology and gave clear results based upon his real life experience of what is really needed at the scene of an emergency. I was fascinated – because the biggest downfall of the current obsession with software-based technology is: what happens when the infrastructure fails? I wanted to create an evacuation system that was fail-safe and convenient – a simple, mechanical system with no software, wires or cables.”
How to partner to invent effectively
“I’d been using Viking Signs for several years – I came to them when a previous supplier let us down and knew their strength lay in being able to provide exactly what I needed, when I needed it. I just had a feeling that Darren Joint, MD of Viking, was the right person to contact with my new idea. I had the concept but not the specialist knowledge to develop it. Darren was immediately excited about the idea and his engineering background proved the perfect partnership with my industry knowledge. I believe that most “safety signage” companies wouldn’t have been able to get a project like this off the ground but Darren’s industry experience, coupled with his problem solving skills meant that, between us, we created, tested and proved that the physical parts for the Tagevac system worked.
The many layered approach…
“It certainly wasn’t a simple task. Each component is made up of three separate layers so we had to source equipment and materials that were suitable. We were working with acrylic, bespoke colour printing, ferrous backboards and magnetic self-adhesive strips in order to create the magnetic control board and tag system that Tagevac is founded on. I’d created the design and knew what the look and feel should be like but Darren was instrumental in the engineering side. Even now, although the system components are the same, every order is a custom creation, specific to the customer’s criteria and physical premises. The system Darren has helped us to create is proven to work consistently for all orders, and is fully customisable for each new project, too.
“Working with Viking is like collaborating with a good architect: it’s
someone who takes your concept, embellishes it and puts forward ideas
that improve the product and make it more cost effective.
“I think it’s quite unusual within the typical fire safety sign industry to find a company like Viking Signs that have the flexibility and ability to test, adapt and improve concepts and they have every reason to be proud of that. The management team and Darren in particular have strong engineering backgrounds which is a really big strength.
I am pleased to be working with Viking Signs and be a part of their success, having grown into the impressive industrial unit they occupy today. Now when I visit, I see we have our own section on the factory floor manufacturing solely for us.
It’s a proper family business, easy to deal with
but with unsurpassed expertise and imagination – long may it remain.”