SANS 23601 Emergency Escape Plans

Emergency Escape Plans

Evacuation plan

SANS 23601 Emergency escape plans are an integral part of a facility’s system of safety signs and plays an integral role in a building owner’s fire safety management plan.  SANS 23601:2010 establishes design principles for displayed emergency escape plans that contain information relevant to fire safety, escape, evacuation and rescue of the facility’s occupants.  These plans are intended to be displayed as signs in public areas and workplaces. 

SANS 23601 requires emergency escape plans to identify:

  • All possible escape routes
  • Expected people movement
  • Location of fire fighting equipment and alarms
  • Location of emergency equipment and evacuation aids
  • Required action to take during specific emergencies or fire
  • Location of refuge and assembly points
  • The exact location of the user

Changes from the previous requirements include elements such as:

  • Use of specific colours for headings, emergency routes, and point of location of the user
  • Scale used for the design
  • Size of prints
  • Eliminating non-essential detail
  • Highlighting important elements
  • Orientating the plan to the exact position of the user
  • Provisions made for people with disabilities
  • Strategic placement of floor plans (within the building/specific locations)
  • Details of plan designer

Example 1 and 2 below illustrates different orientations of the same floor in the same building so that the viewer will maintain a sense of direction. Note the overview plan and assembly points correspond with the orientations.

People commonly use architect/space planners drawings as a basis for emergency escape plans, while these drawings serve a purpose it is normally not compliant with SANS 23601 mainly because of the orientation. If a plan is drawn with North at the top of the page and this plan is displayed on a Western wall it will not give the viewer an understanding of his position and escape routes. Such a plan will leave the viewer confused and disorientated.

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