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Stairwell Signs

Internationally, code officials agree that there is need for comprehensive, up-to-date set of regulations guiding the fire safety code for all private and commercial buildings. This agreement is known as the International Fire Code, which sets a basic set of guidelines that safeguard public health and safety in all communities. Accordingly, a portion of this code is dedicated to specifying stairwell signage which is essential to the safety of buildings large and small. These stairwell signs display important information such as roof access, exit levels and floor numbers.

In California, buildings 3 stories or higher are required to have stairwell identification signs as well as floor level signs with tactile text and braille. The code requires these stairwell signs to be located within the interior stairwell enclosure at each floor landing and to be posted five feet above the floor level. The signs must also display specific information including the stairwell identification, roof access and exit discharge levels. Although there are basic requirements for these stairwell signs, the actual layout may vary, so be sure to consult the appropriate authorities for the pertinent code/regulation compliance.

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The following is an excerpt from the Title 24 Calfiornia Building Code (2012) related to Stairwell Identification:

  1022.9 Stairway identification signs. A sign shall be provided at each floor landing in an interior exit stairway and ramp connecting more than three stories designating the floor level, the terminus of the top and bottom of the interior exit stairway and ramp and the identification of the stair or ramp. The signage shall also state the story of, and the direction to, the exit discharge and the availability of roof access from the interior exit stairway and ramp for the fire department. The sign shall be located 5 feet (1524 mm) above the floor landing in a position that is readily visible when the doors are in the open and closed positions.