According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international need to harmonize a system of communicating escape routes in buildings that does not rely on the use of words led to the development of a new code. ISO 23601:2009 – Safety identification – Escape and evacuation plan signs establishes design principles for displayed escape plans that provide information on the fire safety, escape, evacuation, and rescue of a facility’s occupants.
Escape plans may be displayed as signs in work places and in public areas to help people orient themselves in relation to the planned escape route. They may also be used by fire, rescue, and medical teams, as well as by intervention forces in the case of a terrorist attack. Escape plans should complement the facility’s safety exit guidance system.
ISO 23601 is based on the safety signs, color codes, and design requirements of ISO 7010:2003 – Graphical symbols – Safety colors and safety signs – Safety signs. It establishes a common method of illustrating the position of the viewer in relation to designated escape routes leading to emergency exits and the location of fire safety and emergency equipment close to escape routes. The code covers design requirements, size of plan elements, content and representation, materials, installation and location, and inspection and revision of the escape plans.
Ease and speed of recognition of safety signs are important to help save people from injury and death; therefore, it is important that these signs are able to convey these critical messages independently from language. According to ISO, the use of ISO 23601:2009 will reduce risk by providing a means of improved training and education and to reduce possible confusion in times of emergency.
ISO 23601:2009 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 145, Graphical symbols, Subcommittee SC 2, Safety identification, signs, shapes, symbols, and colors.