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A guide to building evacuation maps

2 Nov, 2021

Fire evacuation maps are a critical piece of the fire evacuation puzzle, helping guide people to safety during a fire emergency. 

Fire evacuation maps, also known as Evacuation Diagrams, are pieces of important signage that can be found across any given building, in compliance with Australian Standards. They help people find safety in an emergency situation by showing them the quickest route to evacuate. 

Typically, these maps will highlight the locations of building features such as rooms, doors, exits, hallways and stairwells, alongside other important features unique to that specific building. Your map will also provide information about where you are in relation to the specified escape route: ‘You Are Here’, while also offering additional guidance for those in an emergency situation, such as the location of fire & safety equipment.

 

Why do I need a fire evacuation map?

Having ineffective evacuation diagrams doesn’t just come with hefty fines – it is also a recipe for disaster. When people don’t know what to do in an emergency, things can quite quickly turn to chaos and panic. Having effective fire safety procedures can save the day, by helping to keep people calm. As calmer people are more likely to evacuate promptly and in a safe manner, this can have a flow on effect. They’re also more likely to put out a fire effectively using the correct fire equipment, helping reduce fire risk, and possibly save lives.

Having current, compliant fire evacuation maps helps ensure everyone in a building is in the safest position possible – whether they’re employees, customers or visitors. Not only do they give clear direction in the event of a fire, but they may be used to help train your team, so they are aware of the safest egress routes in a true emergency. 

What are the requirements for evacuation maps?

A good evacuation map is one that’s always simple to follow and easy to understand. It’s important to remember that Australian law dictates that anyone conducting a business or undertaking a facility must have an emergency plan which should consist of evacuation maps.

The Australian Standards AS3745 details the requirements for Evacuation Diagrams. According to these Standards, your evacuation diagrams must be updated every five years or with any renovations or changes to your fire and safety equipment. AS3745 also lists the requirements for these evacuation diagrams. It also states these diagrams must:

  • Show the location of fire equipment, designated exit points, emergency assembly points and evacuation routes
  • Be displayed in obvious positions along the evacuation route of the facility
  • Be oriented based on the layout of the building
  • Be reviewed every five years. 

Minimum elements

The Australian Standards lay out the minimum elements that you absolutely must have if you are a building manager, property owner or operate a business that has visitors or occupants. Clause 3.5.5 lists a range of elements which must be included in an evacuation diagram:

  • ‘You Are Here’ symbol
  • Designated exit points and evacuation paths
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire blankets
  • Validity date (this is slightly different for Queensland)
  • A symbol legend
  • Location of the workplace and site address/facility name if applicable
  • “EVACUATION DIAGRAM” heading
  • Assembly point location either written or in a picture

 

Optional elements

Australian Standard AS 3745-2010 Clause 3.5.6 lists some optional elements which may be considered by the EPC for inclusion on the diagrams.

  • First aid kits and defibrillators
  • North direction
  • Emergency Information, in accordance with your evacuation plan
  • Spill response kits
  • Direction of door openings for emergency doors
  • Electrical switchboards
  • Fire hydrants

 

Further resources

 

Not sure how to build an evacuation map for your building? Fire Block Plans is here to help you and your team. Our highly-qualified experts will help find a suitable emergency evacuation plan, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.