How to Create/Draw an Emergency Fire Evacuation Map for your Business or Building

Planning 

Planning is the most important part of creating fire evacuation maps for your building.

Know what is required by your local fire marshal, city and state agencies.  Also check to see if there are any special requirements by OSHA or your insurance provider.

An evacuation map is only one part of the Emergency Action Plan that you should have for your business or building.  Make sure it is up-to-date and review it with your employees or tenants often.   For more information on an Emergency Action Plan, contact your local fire marshal and/or O.S.H.A.

Remember:  Make your fire evacuation maps for your building simple, accurate and easy-to-read.

Here are some helpful links:

Ready.gov

OSHA.gov

NFPA.org

Also check your local fire department website.

Illustrating/Drawing

What to Include:

  • Fire extinguisher, fire alarm pull, first aid and medical defibrillator locations.
  • Primary and secondary egress routes
  • A ‘You Are Here’ location.  This indicates where the map you are viewing is located.
  • All elevator and stair locations
  • Mark a place to meet outside and away from the building, in case of a fire or emergency.
  • A legend that illustrates and explains your map.

 What Not to Include:

 Make it simple, accurate and easy to read.  It’s not an art contest.

  • Don’t add unnecessary information to your maps.    Remember, that your key objective is to show people how to move to a safe location in the event of an emergency.  Too much information can become confusing.

 Beginning to Illustrate/Draw:

  •  First draw the walls and doors of your building.  
  • Next add specific details such primary and secondary egress arrows, fire extinguisher locations and all other detail.   
  • Add a compass arrow and street names outside of the walls of our building.
  • Finally, review your maps with those in your office.  Then review your drawings with your local fire marshal and/or other necessary governmental agencies.  It’s best to find out early, if changes need to be made. 

If you have the skill, use an architectural, space planning or illustrative software to make your maps.  However, drawing your evacuation maps by hand can achieve acceptable results.

Hanging your Maps

 Where you should hang your maps depends on your building layout.   Contact your local fire marshal regarding where to place your maps.

  • Your maps should be permanently attached to the wall.

 

Consider hiring a professional evacuation map illustrator. 

You may not have the time, knowledge, software or skill to make a proper evacuation map for your building.  If not, don’t think twice about contacting a company that specializes in emergency evacuation maps.  Simple map illustrations can be quite inexpensive.  (www.building-maps.com) 

Disclaimer 

This article provides a basic guideline for creating an evacuation map for your building.  Requirements vary; so check with your local fire marshal and other agencies mentioned in our Planning section prior to placing any evacuation map for public viewing.

About Tony

President/Illustrator at Building Maps
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