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News - Installing a Photoluminescent Safety Egress Route


Any safety way-guidance system (SWGS) should be planned with the people who will use it in mind. An effective safety egress route can save lives and reduce damage liability should a fire or smoke fill occur.

Additional benefits can be gained by combining a photoluminescent anti-slip tape, such as NovaGlow Duraline on staircases or slippery floors. Read on to see a practical video of a simple installation to assure ease of navigation in such events.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) produces recommended standards for egress safety way-guidance systems to help reduce confusion and delay in understanding the meaning of egress advice and assist the emergency services in navigating their way around smoke-filled buildings.

Ten-Point Planning Checklist for your safety way-guidance system

  1. How many people who will use any route?
  2. What are the demographic characteristics of the occupants?
  3. Consider how many people have impaired vision, mobility or hearing?
  4. What types of activity are/will be carried out in the occupied area?
  5. What is the expected delay period before evacuation commences?
  6. What is the type/size/occupation/location of the building?
  7. How complex are escape routes – where are the potential points of confusion/delay?
  8. What specific hazards are likely to be encountered?
  9. What are the specific risk conditions in which escape routes will be used?
  10. What existing escape route features do you have (eg existing floor plans)?

When planning your safety way-guidance system (SWGS), ISO 16069 establishes some basic principles.

Low, intermediate and high level?

High and low level components are the primary visual elements of an SWGS, in the following information:

  • Low level means a maximum of 0.4m above floor level
  • Intermediate means eye level
  • High level means not less than 1.8m above floor level

Consistency and coherence

  • Consistent, coherent information improves the success and orderliness of evacuations.
  • Photoluminescent egress markings should be as unbroken as possible.
  • They should guide an evacuee from any place within a building, unambiguously, to the designated assembly area and preferably delineate the boundaries of the escape route.

Visual reinforcement

  • Continuity and consistency of information should be aided by safety signs and directional indicators.
  • The frequency of sign placement should be determined by the risk assessment, subject to a maximum of 10m intervals for exit signs and 5m for directional signs.
  • Where practical, signs located in high and intermediate positions should be repeated at low locations (to ensure consistency of information whether walking or crawling).
  • Directional signs at a low level should be close to or incorporated in the way-guidance lines.


  • The principal position of guidance lines should be at low level, giving perspective over distances up to 30m, with directional signs observable from 5m.
  • Additional escape route markings, such as guide or handrails, should be positioned up to 1.2m above floor level.
  • High location safety signs and directional markers indicating route direction changes, intermediate and final exit doors should be located at 10m and 30m intervals for visibility at medium and long observation distances.

Visibility and colour

  • Colours, shapes, symbols and contrasts should all conform to ISO 3864-1 and ISO 7010.
  • Jessup Glo-Brite® range of photoluminescent tapes, sheets, films and signs all satisfy the ISO criteria.


The minimum luminous performance of installed photoluminescents should be:

Time following 5 mins’ exposure to ambient light source of 1000 LxLuminance (mcd/m2)
10 mins20
60 mins2.8
340 mins0.3
  • Ensure component has sufficient ambient light to charge effectively.
  • Minimum operational time for an SWGS is 60 mins.


  • Assembly areas are the preferred final destination.
  • Use the SWGS to give emphasise the intermediary destinations along the escape route such as emergency exit doors.

Avoid confusion

  • Avoid dead ends, changes of direction and offering alternative escape routes which can cause confusion and delay.
  • Increase the frequency of signs at high, intermediate and low locations near dead ends, to steer evacuees towards escape routes.

Minimise competing information

  • Public information signs or internal notices should be of a distinctly different colour, to any components parts of the SWGS.

Multi-storey buildings

  • Use a floor-numbering system in all stairwells and place a floorplan on each floor and major corridors near emergency exits to make navigation easier.

Firefighting equipment

  • Sign firefighting equipment to ISO 3864-1 standards.
  • Do not use arrows to indicate safety equipment on or near escape routes.

Check out a simple safety egress route in a photographic studio in the video below

Positioning your safety way-guidance system

Low level guidance lines

  • Breaks in low level photoluminescent guidance lines should be no more than 0.2m unless a door breaks the line, in which case a 1m break is acceptable (but continue the line across the floor in front of any doors which do not form part of the emergency exit route).
  • In corridors less than 2m wide, one line (wall or floor mounted) is acceptable.


  • Ensure a maximum distance of 10m between exit signs, and a maximum distance of 5m between directional signs.
  • Irrespective of frequency, place directional signs at every junction or change of direction.
  • Where floor guidance lines are less than 0.5m from the wall, directional signs should be wall-mounted at a maximum height of 0.4m.
  • The size of directional indicators in low level location lines must be equal to the width of the line or a min of 50mm.

Stairs, ramps and ladders

  • Use a photoluminescent wall line to indicate the pitch of stairs, steps or ramps, ensuring the start, continuation and end of the change of level are clearly marked.
  • Horizontal steps MUST be marked.
  • Stair risers and/or stair sides should be marked to give perspective and outline.
  • Stair nosing should be a minimum of 20mm and should not present a slip or trip hazard.
  • Consider the use of NovaGlow Duraline as seen in the video as an added photoluminescent anti-slip precaution

Exit doors

  • Door handles and direction of operation should be clearly identified.
  • Ensure each handle is indicated by a vertical photoluminescent strip vertical from the floor to the level of the handle.
  • All final exit door frames must be marked with photoluminescent strips not less than 25mm wide.
  • All other exit doors observable from a distance greater than 20m must be outlined in photoluminescent strip.
  • All EXIT signs must include the up or down arrow which indicates ‘straight on from here’.

Hazard marking

  • Mark buttresses, columns and other static and projecting hazards with striped photoluminescent tape.

Floor markings

  • Dots, footprints and chevrons can be used to give additional perspective but should not be used as substitutes or replacements for SWGS components.



Please contact us at enquiries@innovasolutions.co.uk for further information or to discuss your application.


Click HERE to link through to our Photoluminescent product range.


Innova Solutions are the only official stockist of Jessup Glo-Brite® photoluminescent tapes . To discuss your safety sign requirements, please call +44 (0) 1282 867 390


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