Emergency Exit Signs BS 5266: Part 1: 1988

Emergency Exit Sign in Pakistan

What Indicates An Emergency Exit Sign?

An Emergency Exit Sign is a pictogram or short text in a public facility (such as a building, aircraft, or boat) denoting the location of the closest Emergency Exit to be used in case of fire or other emergency that requires rapid evacuation.

Emergency Exit Sign
Emergency Exit Sign

What Does The Fire Exit Sign Mean?

Fire exit signs are used to clearly inform occupants of a building of the nearest emergency exits, safe evacuation route and general evacuation procedures. They can also offer detailed instructions, such as how to open doorways.

Emergency Exit Sign
Emergency Exit Sign

If Red Means Emergency, Why Are Emergency Exit Signs Green?

Emergency Exit SignPicture this scenario. You are in a movie theatre, suddenly the lights go off and the fire alarm starts ringing. There are two doors with Emergency Exit Sign in front of you, one Emergency Exit Sign with a RED light over it and another Emergency Exit Sign with a GREEN light. You will run towards which door? Most of you will say green, some might say Red. That’s totally fine.

Now tell me this, which color do you associate with emergency? Think about it for a moment. Red, right?

But then why when faced with an emergency, people tend to trust green? Well, it has more to do with psychology aspects of colors.

Color Psychology- Emergency Exit Sign

The red color is associated with energy and danger which reflects chaos (the one thing that we don’t want in a crisis). We are trained to recognize red as ‘STOP’, so in an emergency it might create confusion. Whereas green color is related to safety and ‘GO’, clearly instructing the public to remain calm and follow the signs.

Another reason is that fluorescent green can be seen better than other colors from a distance or in a dark environment. Also, red is actually the least visible color from a distance. Human rod cells are more sensitive towards the wavelength of green color than red. (Why then red is used in traffic signals? Because it stands so prominently against all types of greens)

This is why public buildings have green emergency signs. Some of your surrounding buildings might have red for emergency exits. Especially if you live in the Pakistan. An interesting research was conducted on 24 participants. It suggested that color inferences are determined by color psychology and not by what we experience in our local environment.

This means if you simulate a fire evacuation scenario, people will run towards the GREEN door irrespective of the color of exit sign in their local environment. But, when asked what color do they associate with emergency, the answer is likely to be RED!

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