Keeping assembly venue egress paths usable: Sufficient visual cues

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on Mar 26, 2012

Part 5 of 5

A well-designed egress system can be compromised by a lack of visual cues or inconsistent/incorrect user information. NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® requires exit signs, directional exit signs, and NO Exit signs to provide occupants with sufficient information to make effective use of egress routes with which the occupants might have no familiarity. The problem of conflicting or incorrect information can be worse than providing no information. Exhibit 1 depicts signage on a door equipped with delayed egress locking hardware. The sign directing the user to “Push Until Alarm Sounds…” is required by NFPA 101. The sign advising that a security code must be inputted prior to exiting via the door might be correct for non-emergency, day-to-day use by authorized personnel but is incorrect relative to the operation of the door under fire or similar emergency. The conflicting information might cause a person to leave the area in search of another exit door rather than attempting to open this door.


Emergency door

Exhibit 1. Door with delayed egress hardware and conflicting information placards.

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA. 

-Chris Dubay