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Are your emergency signs up to the Australian Standard?

8 Dec, 2021

It’s critical to follow the Australian Standards when it comes to emergency signage – not only to avoid fines, but for everyone’s safety. 

 

What are the Australian Standards?

The Australian Standards is a set of documentation created by Standards Australia – a non-government regulatory body that sets out procedures, guidelines and specifications to make sure that all products and services remain reliable and consistent, so that people across Australia can be safe. 

 When it comes to emergency signage, you are required by law to meet any Standards referred to in State and Federal legislation applying to your business or residence. It’s a requirement of AS3745 2010 (‘Planning for Emergencies in Facilities’ Section 3.5) to have evacuation diagrams and emergency signage more generally, in all facilities. This is always the responsibility of the business owner.  

 

Why is emergency signage necessary?

Emergency signage, such as evacuation diagrams, are a crucial part of your Evacuation Plan. By making escape quicker and more effective, it can:

  • Reduce the negative impact of an emergency
  • Prevent loss of life and injuries
  • Prevent property damage
  • Minimise business interruptions.

What information do they contain?

  • The Floor Plan and Site Plan of the facility, as well as its Assembly Point and the specific Emergency Procedures of that facility. 
  • Orientation for the individual (“You are here”), pointing them to the nearest and safest exit
    The location of the nearest fire equipment – such as extinguishers, hose reels and fire blankets
  • A legend to help people better-understand the symbols on the diagram.

Learn more about emergency evacuation plans here

What are their minimum elements?

The Australian Standard (AS) 3745 “planning for emergencies in facilities” lays out that your evacuation diagram signage must display the following:

  • ‘You are here’ location
  • Fire stairs
  • Fire indicator panel
  • Firefighting equipment locations
  • Emergency exit points
  • Assembly points
  • A legend.

What kinds of elements are optional?

While not a basic requirement, optional elements can make the diagram simpler to understand, and therefore provide valuable efficiencies during an emergency. 

Some may include:

  • Other emergency information relating specifically to the building 
  • A more detailed site plan
  • First aid stations
  • Warden details
  • Equipment such as spill kits, etc.

 

How many diagrams do I need and where should these go?

Your Emergency Planning Committee in your building is responsible for determining the exact number and location of your evacuation diagrams and signage. 

There’s no simple number that you should have, given that each facility is different. Instead, each evacuation diagram or sign should be located in the most accessible place possible on each evacuation route.

 

What size should they be?

The minimum size of an evacuation diagram is A4. This is the bare minimum that’s only suitable for those who have the minimum requirements and elements. If any optional elements are used, you’ll need an A3 evacuation diagram. The minimum size of the floor plan should be 200mm x 150mm.

 

How should they be positioned and oriented?

In general, evacuation diagrams should be positioned between 1200mm and 1600mm from the floor, in other words, at eye level. 

In addition, you should ensure they’re oriented according to a‘You are Here’ legend. You should also ensure this is rotated correctly from the point of view of the person viewing the sign. The Site Plan, if displayed, should also be oriented in the same direction of the Floor Plan.

 

Remember: Standards are not a set and forget solution!

Standards are subject to change – therefore it’s important to ensure you’re up to date with them at all times. You’ll also need to undergo regular ongoing maintenance of your facility to ensure it still complies with these standards. 

Here at Fire Block Plans, we do all the groundwork to make sure all your signs comply with Australian Standards. We’re experts in this field, helping ensure you get everything right the first time, so you don’t land up in a situation where you have to redo everything, or worse yet, are stuck with ineffective signage that doesn’t do its job in an emergency.

Not sure if your evacuation diagrams comply with safety standards? 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.