Evacuation Route Signs: What Signs Should Evacuation Routes Contain?

Evacuation planning focuses on helping building occupants reach exits safely and efficiently. Some aspects of egress safety, such as exit route dimensions, are federally enforced, while others are not. For example, depending on its municipality, certain egress signs may or may not be required in a building’s exit routes. Often, these signs can mean the difference between smooth evacuations and dangerous ones.

Regardless of municipal law, buildings need the following evacuation route signs and markings to prevent evacuation tragedies.

Photoluminescent egress markings

Luminescent egress markings (a.k.a. egress stripes) outline the dimensions and equipment of egress paths. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends placing a stripe in the center of an egress path, and a horizontal stripe on each of its walls. The International Fire Code (IFC) requires luminescent stripes to be applied to the following areas and equipment in vertical exit enclosures: handrails and handrail extensions, the leading edges of steps and landings, the perimeter of landing areas, egress path obstacles, and the doorframes and door hardware of exit-leading doors.

Although not evacuation route signs, luminescent egress markings serve the same purpose, guiding building occupants along exit routes toward exit-leading doors.

Photoluminescent “Not an Exit” signs

The NFPA requires “Not an Exit” signs to be placed on doors that could be mistaken for exit-leading doors. Details for doors that require “Not an Exit” signs are contained in the NFPA Life Safety Code.

Photoluminescent directional arrow signs

The NFPA requires luminescent directional arrow signs to indicate the continuation of an egress path when its continuation is unclear. Luminescent arrows may also be placed along the walls of an egress path, or in its center.

Photoluminescent emergency exit symbols

The NFPA Life Safety Code and the IFC require emergency exit symbols to be placed on exit-leading doors in hallways and vertical exit enclosures. Mounted with their bottom edge not more than 18 inches above the finished floor, the signs are visible from a standing or crawling position, and are universally understood.

Photoluminescent floor identification signs

Critical evacuation route signs for vertical exit enclosures, floor identification signs help evacuees remain in control as they move toward the exit. The IFC requires floor identification signage to list the following information about vertical exit enclosures:

  • the identification of the stair or ramp
  • floor level
  • total number of floors
  • availability of roof access
  • direction toward the exit.

Photoluminescent exit signs

Due to their superior reliability and visibility, photoluminescent exit signs are critical for evacuation safety. Like photoluminescent egress markings, they are self-sustaining, and require no maintenance.

Glo Brite has the signage you need

At Glo Brite, we offer photoluminescent egress products that contain our patented Glo Brite technology, which supplies our self luminous safety signs and egress markings with superior visibility at 100 feet, and up to 96 hours of burn time in total darkness.

Evacuation safety requires careful consideration, but solutions can be simple. At Glo Brite, we offer products that simplify evacuation safety. To learn more about how luminescent exit route signs can benefit your building, call us today.

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