Remember the rush we all made in the last 10 years or so to install stairwell identification signs inside our stairwells? Well, with the adoption of the new 2012 Life Safety Code, many hospitals may have to take down the signs that they put up and replace them with new signs.
The sign to the left is an example of a stairwell identification sign that we had to install in stairwells serving 5 or more stories. It identified all the correct parameters:
1). The name of the stairwell
2). The floor level
3). The top and bottom terminus
4). The direction to the exit
5). The level of the exit
This sign will no longer meet the requirements of 220.127.116.11.4.1 when the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code is adopted.
With the adoption of the new 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code, hospitals will have to replace all of those signs with new ones similar to the second picture below, and in addition to the requirements above, the new signs must have the have the following additional parameters:
2). The floor level designation needs to be tactile in accordance with ADA requirements
3). The sign may be painted or stenciled on the wall, or if a separate sign, it needs to be fastened to the wall
4). The stairwell identification lettering is required to be at the top of the sign, in minimum 1 inch tall letters
5). Stairwells that do not provide roof access must have the words ‘NO ROOF ACCESS’ and must be located underneath the stairwell identification lettering in minimum 1 inch tall lettering
6). The floor level number must be in the middle of the sign, and be a minimum 5 inches tall. Mezzanine levels must have the letter ‘M’ (or other appropriate identification letter) preceding the floor number, and basements must have the the letter ‘B’ (or other appropriate identification letter) preceding the floor level number
7). Identification of the lower and upper terminus of the stairwell must be located at the bottom of the sign and in minimum 1 inch tall letters and/or numbers.
There is no indication yet from any of the Accreditation Organizations (Joint Commission, HFAP and DNV) or the CMS that the old stairwell signs will be exempt from having to be replaced.
Also, when the new 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code is adopted, all new stairwells serving 3 or more stories are required to have stairwell identification signs.