The importance of safety signage Signs are of relevant importance when delivering information in an emergency. However, to be effective they must comply with standards and be installed in appropriate places. In day-to-day work, study or residence, it is common to find different symbols, warnings and indications that provide us with information about potential risks or actions that can lead to damage to people, infrastructure and / or equipment. These security elements are called “signage”.
The signage and safety maps is a security badge that provides information on the potential risks of a certain area; provides orientation and guides to evacuation routes or safety zones, and indicates the location of equipment or systems that allow controlling eventual emergencies. For this reason, the selection and installation of these security elements are essential to achieve the proposed objective.
Signage is a very useful tool, which if accompanied by others, such as training or information, can be even more effective, but it must necessarily be adequate according to the objective of the sign, the characteristics of the spaces and the eventual risks, as well as the uses or types of buildings in which they are implemented.
To facilitate the process of selecting the signage to be implemented in a building, there is NCh 2189 of 92, which establishes the basic conditions for the use of security signs in buildings in general. In addition, it establishes the informative, regulatory, preventive or prohibitive nature or content of the badge. This standard also defines the places or sites that are the object of signaling, such as meeting rooms, public attendance, evacuation routes, exits, firefighting equipment, places of risk, communication systems, commands and places of assistance.
The sites or places that require security badges must do so in accordance with the provisions of NCh 2111 of 99, especially for signs intended for the field of protection and firefighting. This standard covers not only buildings, but also industries or any facility that requires disclosing the location or nature of the means of alarms and manual controls, the escape or evacuation routes, the equipment or devices intended for the fight or prevention against fires.
The dimensions, colors and location of the security signs indicated in NCh 2111 are in accordance with the specifications given in NCh. 1410/1, NCh. 2267 and NCh. 2275, and must be installed in the places and elements that correspond to signpost. The correct visualization of these security badges by people is a very important factor in the effectiveness of these security elements; therefore, they must be located at a height of 1.6 meters from the floor.
In relation to evacuation routes and their importance for office and residential buildings, the badges used must not only be visible, but also clear in the information they provide to the community, therefore, they must be able to indicate access to an escape route or an exit from the escape route to a safe area, so the direction of the route must also be indicated by means of directional arrows, and in colors and dimensions according to the NCh indications. 2111.
The safety signs or badges that indicate the evacuation routes present different levels of demand depending on the type of building, given this by the number of floors, built-up area, or occupancy load, or fuel load density, as appropriate and such as It is indicated in article 4.3.4 of the general urban planning and construction ordinance. The above is very important to take into account, since the amount and type of signage is not the same for a 4-story building as for a 10-story building or for one that has 10 apartments and another that has 100.
Signage in Practice
As an example, a building whose level of signaling is very rigorous, must have the evacuation routes marked throughout, so that from any point of the route susceptible to being occupied by people, they are visible at least some of the badges that allows to start or continue the evacuation without confusion. The security badges that indicate alarms or other alert systems that the building has, must be placed at a distance not exceeding 10 meters and will be repeated along the evacuation route every 10 meters. All electricity panels, gas booths or any other equipment that represents a risk in the event of a fire must have a sign indicating the element or nature of the risk it represents.
For spaces with a rigorous level of signaling, dangerous spaces or spaces with restricted access must be indicated, identifying if the cause of risk is due to dangerous products or substances, according to the NCh standard. 382. The security signs of the shelters or security zones must be located at a distance of no less than 20 meters, while the places of assistance must be marked with a sign above the entrance door.
For the Medium level, regarding signage, it is a requirement that all doors placed transversely to the escape route are marked with indications if it leads to the outside or to a safe area, as appropriate. If you have alarms or other warning systems, the badges should be placed on or very close to them.
For buildings that present a low level of demand in terms of signaling, they should only have evacuation badges on the roads of common use, indicating the direction of evacuation and the location of the security elements.
In the case of buildings for residential or office use, signage is an issue that at first glance focuses its responsibility on companies in the real estate sector, since they are the ones who must define and apply the aforementioned requirements, but they are also responsible for the compliance with those who authorize and receive the buildings and the communities that inhabit them, since at the time of an emergency, these security elements or badges can save lives.