Photoluminescent stairway installation for evacuation in office buildings

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Journal titleFire Technology
Pages125; # of pages: 25
SubjectEmergency lighting/wayfinding
AbstractTwo experiments were conducted to assess the effectiveness of photoluminescent material (PLM) in support of occupant evacuation in office buildings. The first study completed in 1999 was designed to assess the potential use of PLM as a safety communication system to support office occupant evacuation. The study, conducted with PLM made of zinc sulphide pigments, measured the occupants? premovement time, movement time and evacuation speed in four stairways with different lighting and PLM installations. The positive outcome of the first study regarding a comparable speed of movement in the different stairways used and the conclusive feedback from the evacuees regarding the PLM wayguidance system led to a second study. The second study, completed in 2008, compared 3 stairway installations of PLM markings and a stairway with emergency lighting, which acted as a reference stairway. This second study used the new generation of alkali earth aluminates PLM pigments providing a brighter output then the first study. Results show comparable speed of movement under severe crowd conditions for the 4 stairways studied. Overall, two-thirds of the respondents felt comfortable going down the stairways with PLM markings particularly in the 2 stairways where the marking was installed across each step. The stairway, which had only emergency lighting, and the stairway with L-shaped markers at the edge of each step were less appreciated by the occupants. Occupants commented that the landings and mid-landings were difficult to identify in all the stairways, which suggest that additional marking should be provided in these areas. The findings of these two studies led to the development of a best practice Guide for installation of PLM marking in exit stairways.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number52696
NPARC number20374193
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Record identifierc1290b41-47b9-418c-b649-5ad2bdd9205b
Record created2012-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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