Some building owners prepare for fire evacuations proactively, adopting measures set forth in the International Fire Code (IFC), which applies to buildings that have occupancy above 75 feet from the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. Others, however, prepare for fire evacuations only after a fire strikes.
Depending on building design and occupancy characteristics, a poorly equipped emergency egress system could lead to tragic injuries and casualties. However, deterring these tragedies can be easy and affordable. By following IFC guidelines for implementing fire code egress signs in vertical exit enclosures, building owners can help evacuees locate building exits safely during fire evacuations.
The importance of egress signs in vertical exit enclosures
For over a decade, Jessup Manufacturing has produced IFC compliant egress signs that improve the safety of vertical exit enclosures. When combined with our IFC compliant egress markings that outline the critical elements in vertical exit enclosures, these signs could mean the difference between safe evacuations and ones casualties occur. According to the IFC, three fire code egress signs play a crucial role in vertical exit enclosure safety: floor identification signs, emergency exit symbols, and building exit signs.
Floor identification signs
Luminescent floor identification signs are mounted at every floor landing to provide the following fire code egress information: identification of the stair or ramp, floor level (also in Braille), availability of roof access, the top and bottom floors of the enclosure, and the story of and direction toward the exit.
According to a 2009 study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), psychological and behavioral factors play a significant role in determining how quickly evacuees exit a building. By apprising evacuees of their location in an enclosure and guiding them toward the exit, floor identification signage helps prevent panic behavior that could lead to deadly egress jams.
Emergency exit symbols
Luminescent emergency exit symbols are mounted on the center of each exit-leading door 18 inches above the finished floor. This positioning allows evacuees to locate the symbols from a standing or a crawling position. Also known as running man symbols, emergency exit symbols (a) apprise evacuees of exit-leading doors and (b) instruct them where to travel as they pass through the doors (left, right, up, or down).
Building exit signs
Exit signage can be mounted low or high, with some buildings choosing the latter in consideration of smoke rising. At Jessup Manufacturing, we offer a variety of photoluminescent exit signs that conform to IFC, UL 294, and NFPA 101 requirements. Photoluminescent signs are more reliable, more durable, and cost significantly less to maintain than incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LED exit signs. And they are safer than radioactive Tritium signs.
The importance of protecting your building today
Even when a building is located in a state that has not adopted a version of the IFC, Implementing its fire code guidelines for vertical exit enclosures is still critical to evacuation safety. If there are two things we cannot stress enough, they are that (1) fires happen unexpectedly, and (2) luminescent egress signs help buildings occupants evacuate in a timely manner. Instead of planning on never experiencing a fire, let us help you prepare your vertical exit enclosures for safe evacuations.