Although there’s no sure way to prepare for a building fire, you can take steps that allow your building’s occupants to evacuate without the immanent threat of serious injury or death. If you surf the Internet for fire safety tips, you’ll find that it would be impossible to implement them all, and that some tips even oppose each other. But one measure that you can take that’s certain pay dividends in the event of a fire evacuation is implementing the following types of photoluminescent fire evacuation signs in your building’s vertical exit enclosures and exit passageways: emergency exit symbols and floor identification signs.
Everyone knows what an emergency exit symbol looks like: it’s the small, adhesive safety sign that has a symbol of a “running man” in its center. Although simplistic in design, the running man symbol accomplishes what all fire evacuation signs should: the communication of critical information in a small amount of time. According to the International Fire Code (IFC), which regulates the egress safety of new construction and existing buildings that contain occupancy at above 75 feet from the lowest level of fire department vehicle access, emergency exit signs should be centered on all exit-leading doors within vertical exit enclosures at some 18 inches above the floor, providing easy visibility to evacuees regardless of their walking or crawling stance.
Similar to emergency exit symbols, floor identification signs are placed within vertical exit enclosures at each floor landing. But they communicate more information than exit symbols, including: the identification of the stair or ramp; the identification of the floor level (also indicated in Braille); the exit point of the top and bottom of the exit enclosure; the availability of roof access within the enclosure; and the level of and direction toward the building’s exit. Most building’s never experience an emergency evacuation. But applying emergency exit symbols and floor identification signs is an easy, low cost step that will pay dividends should one occur.