An exit sign is often an underappreciated aspect of most buildings; however when it comes to safety they can be one of the most important elements to consider for a buildings safety and exit strategy. Allowing for a clear fast exit from a building in the case of an emergency such as fire, power outage or other unfortunate event is highly important.

Under these circumstances where evacuation of the building is necessary, often all patrons can’t rely on their personal knowledge to exit safely. They may be visitors, new to the building or under stress due to the emergency; it is in these cases that it is significantly important to have exit signs especially in high traffic areas to ensure a calm and efficient exit by all from the building.

What should you consider when installing exit signs?

An exit sign/light is an illuminated sign that displays the location of, or direction to where an emergency exit is located. They are a battery-backed lighting device that comes on automatically when a building experiences a power outage or in the event of fire.


  • Exit signs must be understood by everyone in the building
  • Should be able to work even when there is an electrical outage
  • Placed to follow the exit strategy of the building
  • Have more than one exit, in case the first way is blocked
  • Must meet Australian standards AS 2293.1—2005

Why stress exit signs in high traffic areas?  

When an unlikely emergency occurs, the first reaction most people have is stress and panic. Without proper guidance to safety, people are likely to rush to the nearest exit regardless of the people in their way. This can cause people to fall and trample upon each other, in which case can cause serious injuries and even death.

Sometimes, the closest exit is not often the main exit. Exit signs on doors and hallways need to be in place to guide individuals out of the building in the quickest and safest way. These signs need to be brightly lit in case of disrupted visibility from smoke or power outage.


Beware of Photoluminescent Exit Signs

In 2014, photoluminescent (PL) emergency signs were introduced as an alternative option to internally illuminated exit signs. The idea was that it will save costs as the signs can absorb UV light and re-emit once the light source has been removed.

However, Russell Loane, chairman of Lighting Council Australia warns that in order for PL signs to illuminate, there must be at least two additional light source continuously shining of the face of these PL signs. This can significantly increase the cost especially in areas where lights are not normally on, such as stairwells and unused rooms.

“The expected supply and install cost of a standard LED exit sign is in the order of $250, with ongoing energy costs of $3.16 per year. The supply and install cost of a PL exit sign and accompanying emergency light and separate luminating light source is in the order of $550, with ongoing energy costs of $21.56 per year,” Russell Loane said.

To read more about photoluminescent exit signs: Click here

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