Japanese hotel evacuation diagram sign

Accessible Exits in Evacuation Diagrams

As discussed earlier in this White Paper, Clause 3.5 of AS 3745 outlines the minimum requirements for evacuation diagrams which must be displayed in all buildings and facilities. These diagrams help to provide visual information to building occupants to aid them in their evacuation from their location, to a suitable exit and then to a safe assembly area outside the building. When providing this information one has to ask some questions:

Is this approach an inclusive approach that satisfied the requirements to provide a universally accessible building? Not just into the building, but out during an emergency?

If I am unable to negotiate stairs, and I’m looking at the evacuation diagram on the first floor of a building, how can I get back to the ground floor and get out the building?

If I am moving down a corridor, and I have a decision in whether to turn left to an exit, or to turn right to an alternate exit, will one of them be accessible?

At the moment, there is no restriction from the ability to utilise an accessible exit sign anywhere within AS 3745, and nothing to preclude the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’.

When reviewing the ‘informative’ only example Evacuation Diagrams provided in Appendix E of AS 3745 the examples show pictograms for emergency exits and these are in traditional “EXIT” format and an adapted Running Man exit sign style which differs from that shown in AS 2293.1.[1] [2] It would be a natural extension of universal design principles to identify both ‘accessible’ and ‘non-accessible’ means of egress on all evacuation diagrams in the future. This could also include locations of evacuation chairs, refuge areas, assisted rescue areas and evacuation lifts.

[1] Standards, Australia, AS 2293.1—2005, Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 1: System design, installation and operation, Appendix D

[2] Standards, Australia, AS 2293.3—2005, Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 3: Emergency escape luminaires and exit signs, Clause 1.4.3.3

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Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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