Photoluminescent Safety Signs: How Do They Impact Egress Safety?

When visibility is normal, a building’s egress flow seldom shows cause for concern. But when visibility is low, the egress flow in some buildings slows significantly—an occurrence that, if a fire is present, could lead to fatalities. Today, building owners have two types of solutions for making egress paths navigable during low visibility: electric backup lighting, or photoluminescent egress products. According to safety experts, the latter should be implemented to ensure visibility in the event of dense smoke. Below are four luminescent signs that can improve evacuation time when smoke is present.

Running Man Signs

The most well-known of the photoluminescent safety signs, running man signs are mounted on all exit-leading doors with their bottom edge not more than eighteen inches above the finished floor (IFC 1024.2.6). Their running man symbol indicates the direction evacuees should travel upon accessing a door – left, right, up, or down.

Floor Identification Signs

Floor identification signs should be mounted at floor landings in vertical exit enclosures, located five feet above the floor in a position that remains visible whether doors are open or closed (IFC 1022.8). Floor identification signs assist evacuees by providing the following information: the identification of the stair or ramp, floor level, number of floors, and the story of and direction toward the building discharge.

Area of Refuge Signs

Assisted rescue area signs indicate exterior areas where building occupants can receive assistance evacuating. Assisted rescue area signs should be installed at all exits leading to areas of refuge, and should contain the words “area of refuge” along with the international symbol for accessibility (IFC 1007.6.5).

Building Exit Signs

Building exit signs, which are the classic exit signs one sees in commercial buildings, should be mounted above the top of the opening of building exits, although some municipalities require exit signs to be mounted near the floor. Exit signs need not be mounted at exit doors that are obviously identifiable as building exits (NFPA 7.10.1.2).

The Importance of Photoluminescent Technology

According to a study by The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, evacuees feel their evacuation time is decreased when egress paths contain strong visual cues, and increased when such cues are absent. Furthermore, an evacuation study by Norwegian InterConsult Group revealed that (a) photoluminescent material is clearly visible in the presence of smoke, and (b) evacuees in buildings containing self-luminous safety systems make the fewest erroneous moves as they evacuate.

If your building lacks photoluminescent safety signs and egress markings, a low visibility evacuation could cause injuries and casualties due to egress jams, which could consequently lead to lawsuits and a damaged reputation.

Glo-Brite has the Photoluminescent Products you need

At Glo-Brite, we offer International Fire Code (IFC) and National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) compliant photoluminescent safety signs and egress markings. Powered by our patented Glo-Brite technology, which supplies superior visibility through smoke and burns for up to ninety-six hours in total darkness, these products mean the difference between safe evacuations and tragic ones. To learn more about our products, browse through our product pages, or call us today.

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