To further impede safe egress for people with disabilities, an accessible means of egress, when provided within a building, may not be easily identified with appropriate exit signage. If this is this case, it could result in a person with mobility limitations making a poor decision and heading down an exit path leading to an architectural barrier, such as stairs when an alternate path was provided elsewhere.
In most countries there is currently no legislated requirement to distinguish between accessible exit paths, and other non-accessible exit paths that have barriers (such as stairs). This is an obvious ‘gap’ in legislation where an accessible means of egress is not always provided and not identifiable. The use of accessible exit signs, adopting the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ as an international standard would help address and close this gap.
Accessible exit signage is needed to direct people to parts of an accessible means of egress, including Evacuation Lifts, refuge areas and exits. Signage throughout a building, including in refuge areas, evacuation lifts and fire escape stairs should include accessible signage directing people to evacuate the building as soon as possible, unless they are providing assistance to others.
This signage should also provide directions for use of communication equipment and the availability of other alternate methods of evacuation, such as in escape stairs advising people of any evacuation lifts on the same floor.