Fire Evacuation Plans and Evacuation Diagrams
Federal and local agencies require the posting of building evacuation diagrams. Public and commercial buildings (with 10 or more employees) are required by OSHA to have an Emergency Action Plan (EPA). An EAP details the actions employees and building occupants must take in the event of a crisis. A component of the EPA is the Fire Plan. Fire Plans emphasize in-house fire safety protocols (graphic and written), some of which must be posted. Local ordinance requirements (building code / fire code) also require emergency evacuation diagram posting. Briefly, evacuation diagrams (signs) must include a floor plan, viewer location, egress routes to fire exits, fire safety equipment as well as evacuation instructions.
What Are the Codes and Standards?
- Much has been written into fire codes and occupational safety regulations about the necessity of posting fire evacuation diagrams. They are required by law in most facilities. Yet visit any number of buildings with posted fire evacuation signs and you will find as many different sign designs as there are buildings. With the absence of a nationally recognized standard to guide facility managers and sign designers with evacuation map development, one must ask whether all building evacuation signs are equally effective? Can diagram size, color, floor plan orientation, text or icon styles affect viewer response during an emergency.
The use of CAD technology does NOT guarantee good sign design!
- The use of modern technology has been a tremendous boon to graphic designers and the sign trade. However, the task of implementing and producing an aesthetic as well as functional building evacuation sign program requires more than computer software knowledge. An effective safety sign program requires an understanding of the local fire ordinance requirements, international norms governing safety sign graphics and an understanding of wayfinding signage principals governing occupant traffic flow.
Does Design Matter?
- With over 30% of the general population experiencing reading, color or other perceptual disability, sign design elements do make a difference! Many fire and building evacuation signs meet local code requirements yet fail to communicate safety information effectively. With insufficient safety information, improper floor plan orientation, lettering size or floor plan clutter, many emergency evacuation diagrams can actually cause confusion and slow down evacuation.
EvacMap safety signs are viewer friendly, code compliant and aesthetically pleasing.
- We believe that wayfinding is more than just signage. PictoGraphix designers work closely with the client to design sign systems best suited to their working environment. Well versed in wayfinding and sign design principles, all signs meet local ordinance requirements and effectively communicate safety information. Every technical plan we receive is carefully scrutinized, simplified and re-drawn to scale. Our extensive experience in safety sign design ensures that each sign template is custom designed to meet the clients' safety and aesthetic requirement.
- Scale diagrams are produced that include all rooms, offices, exit locations, heavy equipment/machinery locations and staircases as needed.
- Internationally recognized Safety Icons are placed on diagrams to indicate fire and safety equipment which can include: fire hoses, fire extinguishers, first aid center, fire control panel and as needed, sprinkler, gas, electric or other utility shut-off locations.
- As indicated by the authority having jurisdiction, Primary and secondary egress routes are indicated on all diagrams.
- Exits designated for persons with physical disabilities are included - EvacMaps with Braille are also available as well as ADA compliant signage.
Architectural drawings received in CAD file format or on paper are easily managed by our design team. The company logo or building identification is applied to all signs free of charge. Numerous internationally recognized safety icons are available. Custom requested icons and symbols are also provided no charge. Evacuation maps are meticulously checked for oversights and all maps are guaranteed to arrive as you ordered error free and installation ready.
- Digital scanning capabilities for larger drawings.
- Corporate logo placement and icons added free of charge.
- Lamination services and custom framing
- Thermal color printing on clear vinyl film for PL signs
Your specific evacuation procedures are carefully considered during the initial design stages. Color coded elements are added to emphasize the designated Exit Routes or 'No Exit' zones. Standard or customized 'Emergency Evacuation Instructions' could also be included on your signs. Each sign is customized to meet the needs of the facility and its occupants.
Please be aware that fire safety ordinance requirements (local fire codes, OSHA standards, Canada Fire Code, etc.) are applicable on a case by case basis. Contact your local Fire Prevention Officer or the authority having jurisdiction before committing to a specific evacuation plan. See our Important Links page for relevant articles on evacuation planning and fire safety.
With the majority of our clients located out of town. PictoGraphix has set up an in-house data checking system which offers clients online access to our server to view their work in progress (Client Access). Drawings are printed and framed only after clients have verified all artwork.
- Facility Location maps: indicate property and building lot sizes, surrounding roads, evacuation assembly areas and vital fire fighter or emergency response team entry information
- Emergency Response Cards: distributed to staff members, outline the course of action to take in the event of an emergency. These printed and laminated booklets are specific to your fire safety plan and can include Evacuation Route graphics.
- Site-Surveys and Installation: available through appointments.
- On-site facility mapping services.
- Installation of Photoluminescent directional signs and markers (i.e. hand railing, baseboard and stair tread markers).
Until such time that a national consensus for egress route maps is developed by regulatory agencies, PictoGraphix will employ the recommended fire and safety standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for fire safety issues and symbols. As required, EvacMap diagrams should be presented to safety officials in your jurisdiction for final approval.