Q: We had a question as to whether or not we are required to have posted emergency evacuation route signage posted throughout the hospital and clinical buildings. Given the fact we have extensive exit lights in place throughout all buildings is there a Joint Commission requirement that the evacuation route be posted within the buildings?
A: No, there is no Life Safety Code, Joint Commission or CMS requirement to have emergency evacuation route maps posted in the hospital. As far as I can tell, there never has been a Joint Commission requirement of this, but at one time, the interpretation handed down to state CMS inspectors did require hospitals to post emergency evacuation route maps. It was determined that this was an incorrect interpretation on the CMS form 2876S (also called K-Tags) about 10 years ago, and CMS removed the emergency evacuation route map requirement from the K-Tags document. It is possible that the misinterpretation may have started with section 188.8.131.52 of the Life Safety Code (2000 edition) which requires hospitals to have written plans for evacuation from the building. No matter how the mistake was made, it is comforting to know the officials did the correction and now evacuation route maps are not mandatory, however they can be very helpful when they are accurate. Please check with your local and state authorities to see if they have any requirements to post evacuation routes.