Building codes require specific signage to help occupants identify emergency evacuation exits. Since the year 2000 a standardized code has been in place by the International Code Council (ICC) to ensure better building occupant safety. Two codes exist and pertain to buildings in a specific manner. The IBC codes are guidelines for the construction or alteration of a structure. These rules identify the number of exits and types of markings needed. Most states follow the guidelines and require building owners, construction workers, and architects to ensure they are met before the structure is occupied. Another set of codes, referred to as IFC regulations, apply after the building has been constructed. They also create set standards for exit safety. Exits cannot be blocked or have hazards that could result in physical injury. They must be properly identified with visible signs and markings.
Current regulations do not require signs to be luminescent. Many businesses have more traditional emergency exit signs that run off electricity or back up generators. While these marking materials do meet compliance, they do not offer the visibility needed by occupants for all emergency situations. Many things can go wrong during an evacuation. Fires, earthquakes, and other disasters may cause the power to fail. Backup generators do not always kick on. This leaves occupants in a dark and hard to maneuver building. They may panic and end up hurting each other. When all these safety measures fail, egress path markings and exits can be impossible to find. The result is a very confused and panic stricken crowd which cannot find their way. Many people could get lost and hurt due to this very possible situation. In situations where a fire occurs and backup power does not fail, the traditional signs will still prove to be highly ineffective. This is because the smoke decreases visibility and rises. Exit markings may still not be viewable by occupants.
Signage Can Be the Difference between Safety and Fatality
Photo-luminescent signs has many benefits including cost effectiveness. When the cost of lawsuits due to injury and death are compared to the fractional expense of these emergency tools the benefits greatly outweigh them. Why are luminescent emergency exit signs so effective? They do not require electricity to be seen. Even if the electricity ceases and the generator fails, occupants can still see a clear path to each exit. In the event of a fire, the smoke does not mask the markings. You can be certain that all exits are highly visible for a safe evacuation. Construction of a building is the easiest time to apply these types of markings. The time required for hooking up electrical signs and additional signage costs are completely avoided. Plus occupant safety is guaranteed. Signage can truly be a life saver for occupants. A fire or disaster occurs and occupants get injured or worse. Then you’re faced with lawyers, trials, and settlements. Not to mention your building gets shut down either permanently or until safety guidelines are met. By installing fail proof signs and markings, occupants get out in the most severe emergency without these devastating complications.