How to Create Fire Exit Maps

Written by frank gates
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How to Create Fire Exit Maps
Sometimes a fire exit is right in front of your eyes and sometimes you need a map to find it quickly. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Employee safety in the workplace is the number one consideration for all businesses. Fire evacuation maps are required by the fire and building codes. Creating fire exit maps for employees to find the nearest fire exit during an emergency is a straightforward task. Most businesses already have all the required materials on hand and it is simply a matter of creating the fire exit maps and posting them in the facility.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 8.5 " x 11" paper (grid or plain)
  • 8.5 " x 11" picture frames
  • Picture frame hanging hardware (hooks or nails)
  • Copy machine

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  1. 1

    Draw a simple floor plan of your business. If your business has more than one floor, you'll need a floor plan for each floor. Make sure to show all doors, windows and stairways. Show all possible emergency exits. Show fire extinguisher locations (simple icon), first aid kit locations and any other important specifics such as eyewash locations, unusual building construction or uncommon stairway access points. Keep this floor plan as simple as possible so it is easy to read during a panic situation such as a fire.

  2. 2

    Identify the physical location where you want to place fire exit maps on the walls of your business. You should have a fire exit map, readily available, so every employee can immediately find this map during an emergency. You need to identify these locations because each map will have information specific to its physical location. For example, there may be three different fire exits in your facility and each fire exit map on the wall will need to show the route to the closest fire exit. Just copying a single fire exit map and putting it everywhere in the building will not get the job done.

  3. 3

    Draw each fire exit map with correct orientations. This means that if the map is showing a fire exit to the left, the map must be placed on the wall so that the fire exits showing really is to the left of the map. During a panic situation, there is no time for someone to mentally adjust these directions. If the exit route is shown going to the left, you must place the sign on the correct wall so that the exit route really is going to the left.

  4. 4

    Make a copy of your simple floor plan for each physical location where your fire exit map will be located. Customise each of these maps to show the closest fire exit to the actual map location in the facility. Draw a dashed line on the map showing the route from the map location to the nearest fire exit. Use arrowheads on this dashed line to clearly identify which direction employees need to go to find the fire exit.

  5. 5

    Add a "You Are Here" icon to each fire exit map showing exactly where somebody would be standing to view this fire exit map on the wall. This icon is typically a large red dot with the text "You Are Here" on top of the red dot.

  6. 6

    Place each map in its intended location and make sure that the "You Are Here" icon is correct, the escape route is going in the correct direction and any other physical details are accurate for that map's location.

  7. 7

    Check the accuracy of these maps a second time by having a helper review each map at each location for accuracy.

  8. 8

    Mount each map on the wall at its selected location, making sure that it is eye level and unobscured by any hallway obstructions.

Tips and warnings

  • A pencil drafted floor plan on grid paper will get the job done but if you can create your fire exit map on the computer, the end result will be much easier to read. You may already have the drawing applications necessary on your computer. Applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel have built-in drawing tools.
  • Identify a congregation area outside of the building were employees should meet in case of an emergency. If it is possible, your fire exit map should show the outside perimeter of your facility and identify this congregation area.
  • You can take your completed map down to your local fire station and show it to them. They are not in the business of making maps but generally they will be happy to tell you if it looks adequate or not.

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