Area of Refuge Signs
What is an Area of Refuge?
An area of refuge (sometimes called an area of rescue) is a designated spot in a building where individuals with mobility challenges can wait for help in case of an emergency and evacuation is not safe or is not possible. It is intended for the elderly, persons with disabilities, sick people, and anyone else who cannot use the stairs to exit. It has a call button for help and a 2-way voice communication system.
When is an Area of Refuge Required?
The answer varies by state and municipality, but generally, public buildings that are new construction are required to have an area of refuge on every floor that is above ground level. The number, size, and location of the areas of refuge depend on the building's occupant load. You can learn the rules from the International Building Code (IBC) , the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101, and the International Code Council (ICC).
Signs Are Required
It is important to have area of refuge signs to inform people of the site of the place of refuge. They should be visible to any guest or staff who does not know the area.
The signs must meet certain criteria set forth in the IBC, NFPA, and ICC. The signs must read "AREA OF REFUGE", display the international symbol of accessibility, and have letters that contrast with the background. The signs must be illuminated, even during a power outage. Additional signs are needed where necessary to indicate the direction of travel to an area of refuge.
In addition to the area of refuge signs, other signs are required, such as tactile signage and instructional signage. All must be placed at specific heights.
Most buildings should have an area of refuge, and in many cases it's required. It is essential to have a place of refuge for your safety and to adhere to the legal requirements. If you have never given thought to it before, now is the time. The area and its signs must be compliant with the building and fire codes. Contact us today, and we will furnish and install your area of refuge signs and provide the correct emergency illumination.