Visibility of exits and corridors in a building can be greatly hampered when an emergency takes place. While most buildings have back up lighting and other items in place to assist occupants in the evacuation process, they are not always effective. In some situations, back up lighting can fail. Signs and symbols which are not luminous cannot be seen when lighting is non-existent or the air is saturated with smoke. Luminous IBC compliant components make exits and corridors identifiable in circumstances where visibility is reduced. These components can be seen in smoky and non-lit areas without the need for a power source. When placed correctly around an exit enclosure, egress path markers provide better visibility for the physical dimensions of the enclosure.
IBC Compliant Components: Guidelines for Path Marking Installation
IBC and IFC regulations call for luminous egress markings on steps, handrails, and in landing areas. If applied according these codes, the amount of time it takes for occupants to find their way out is reduced. The risk of physical injury is also greatly reduced by implementing these items. These components ascertain that a well planned evacuation goes smoothly without problems commonly caused by panic and confusion. They help make certain that the egress route is easily recognizable so that the evacuation route is followed correctly in a crisis situation. Occupants can exit the building without getting lost or trampled in the process. Gaps are allowed for instances where handrails and their extensions bend around corners. These gaps should never exceed four inches.
Steps, landings, and handrails all have placement requirements that are defined in IBC and IFC policies. A solid, continuous stripe is required for all steps. It should be laid horizontally on the full length of the steps leading edge. This cannot be more than two inches in width. Stripes must be placed within a half inch of the steps leading edge. If necessary, they can overlap the edge of the step vertically by one half inch. Landing areas must also be outlined by a luminous strip that is one to two inches in width. All handrails need luminous path markings. These markings need to be placed on the top of the handrail. Stripes should be solid, continuous, and span the entire handrail. They are required to be no less than one inch wide and to cover handrail extensions and post caps.
Egress path markings are one of many IBC compliant components that are pertinent for a safe evacuation. Without these markings, occupants may fall down stairs, run into walls, and flip over handrails. All of these occurrences could result in injury or even fatalities. It is very important to follow IBC and IFC guidelines when placing these components throughout a building. High rises are one building type where these items importance are greatly stressed. These buildings have high occupancy numbers and are more vulnerable for egress jams that cause injuries. Relying on back up lighting and non-luminous signs can be very dangerous in high rise buildings. While not all states require these components to be put in place, they are worth considering for the safety of all occupants within your building.