Demarcation Lines Create a Safe Evacuation Path for Building Occupants

Demarcation lines are one of the most important methods for ensuring occupant safety in a building. Luminous marking strips may be applied to walls, stairs, doors, and other items to outline landing areas for better egress flow during a low-visibility emergency situation. The IBC and IFC regulate the placement of luminous striping on these items to make certain their placement is done correctly and effective. Without these markings, it can be easy for occupants to get lost or confused. They may panic, miss the exit, and get hurt. IBC and IFC codes require solid strips no more than two inches wide for outlining the entire egress path. Strips should form a continuous line for a building to be compliant with these regulations.

Recommended IBC Compliant Components Application

An owner can apply luminous striping to floors, walls, obstacles, and doorways for exit identification during an emergency. Floor-mounted striping needs to be within four inches from the wall and span out two inches from the landing’s leading edge. This striping should cross the front of all doors that will not be used as an emergency exit. Regulations state that floor-mounted lines must never have more than four inches of interrupted space. Wall-mounted luminous strips should never be higher than four inches from the floor. When applied for stairs, striping needs to remain two inches from the top of each stair and drop vertically to meet floor striping. Wall lines cross all door faces that are not exit enclosures or be placed vertically to meet a non-exit door floor-mounted line. Strips should not be used for the sides of steps or be interrupted by a space of more than four inches.

The IBC and IFC also recommend that luminous striping be applied to obstacles, doors, and door hardware. Any obstacle that is six feet six inches or less in height needs to be marked for safety. Obstacles that protrude out into the egress path by at least four inches also require striping. Strips with rotating luminescent and black bands approximately two inches in thickness are used to mark these items. They should form forty-five degree angles around obstacles such as hose cabinets and standpipes. Door hardware must be marked by at least sixteen inches of striping. It can be placed on, behind, or adjacent to the door handle. Doors with panic bars should have a strip that matches the length of the panic bar. Finally, exit doors must have luminous striping along their doorframes or on the wall next to their frame.

IBC compliant components like these are vital for a safe exit in a low-visibility situation. Without them, it can be very difficult for occupants to find their way. Demarcation lines enhance a reliable exit strategy by making it possible for occupants to see exits in the most extreme conditions. Lines and symbols should always be uniform for an exit enclosure so that it is easily identifiable to building occupants. Remember that the IBC and IFC regulations for luminous striping do not replace a well rehearsed and planned evacuation route. They do help make certain that the plan is carried out without injuries or other incidents.

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