There are numerous aspects of building safety that determine whether a building is prepared for an emergency evacuation, one of the most important of which is the proper placement of building safety signs throughout a structure’s halls, vertical exit enclosures, and exit passageways. What these signs should consist of is mostly at the liberty of building owners. But there are some signs required by the International Fire Code (IFC), a version of which has been adopted in at least 42 states, which governs the egress safety in new construction and existing buildings that contain occupancy at above 75 feet from the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.
Emergency Exit Symbol and Floor Identification Building Safety Signs
If you own a building in a state that hasn’t a version of the IFC, it’s still important to implement at least two of the code’s guidelines: the application of luminescent emergency exit symbols and floor identification signs. Emergency exit symbols, also known as running man signs, are placed on exit leading doors within vertical exit enclosures and exit passageways, with the figure’s running direction telling evacuees which direction to travel after they pass through the door. According to the IFC, the signs should be centered horizontally on doors with their top not rising more than 18 inches above the finished floor.
Like emergency exit symbols, floor identification signs are placed within vertical exit enclosures. They contain the following information: the identification of the stair or ramp; floor level; the terminus of the top and bottom of the enclosure; and the story of and direction toward the building exit. Without emergency exit symbols and floor identification signs, evacuees have to rely on their memory during a high stress event, which could easily cause even the most well rehearsed evacuation plan to become disorganized and chaotic. Implementing the signs is cheap, but not implementing them could be costly indeed.