A story about implementing Escape route signing on cruise ships or ferries will sound like a technical job to many. There is a large amount of exit signs, stickers and strips, self-adhesive or attached with screws. However, not much that requires a lot of thinking. Or is there?
Unfortunately, we see it on vessels every day: the lack of signage or, on the contrary, a jumble of exit signs and stickers that all scream for attention. Sometimes even with conflicting messages. A sense of safety is hard to find.
When the subject is ‘safety signage’ onboard a cruise ship, for many that equals ‘Exit Signs’. Without any distinction between primary and alternative escape routes as defined in the ship’s mandatory escape plan. The specialism in the field of escape route signage, however, is not to hang as many exit signs as possible. Attention should be paid to the connection between the Escape Plan and the signage guiding people to the assembly stations. Assembly stations are the locations where passengers must be accommodated. Therefore, a single exit sign on board a ship is meaningless. Where do you go as a passenger? The answer is simple: the destination should always be the assembly station.
An effective escape route signage system consists of:
– Low location lighting, including escape signs
– Signs applied at eye level
– Electrical signs
– Signage indicating how to reach the assembly station(s)
– Instructions for guests and staff (in the cabins and common areas)
At SafeSign we always aim to increase the effectiveness of the evacuation process. Cruise ships are complex architectural environments. Therefore we ask ourselfs: are the guests and staff aware of the layout of the ship? And do they know where the lifeboats are located? For these reasons, an effective escape route signage system is not complete without clear instructions and training.
In accordance with ISO, as defined in the 24409-2 required by IMO Resolution 1116(30), a safety sign must always consist of a symbol. An escape route sign is always a symbol with an additional arrow. The text ‘assembly station’, or ‘exit’ may be used additionally, in any language or multiple languages.
An arrow without a symbol is not an escape sign. And loose arrows on LLL are completely wrong (except in dead-end corridors) because you never know in advance if the primary escape route to the assembly station is passable. If it is blocked, passengers should be able to take an alternative route, which must be clearly marked, without risk of confusion. All this must be clearly explained in the safety instructions.
So we conclude that escape route signage is more than just a collection of exit signs. There is more to it than simply implementing what is urgently needed to meet the requirements of an inspection.
The correct implementation and assembly of escape route signage is essential. When applying safety signs and low location lighting, we think of the right height, position (is the sign visible) and the right fasteners. Therefor, a correct mounting is just as essential as the design of the system.
For many years, the cruise industry has been using safety signage made of (toxic) PVC, or low-quality plastics. With the environment in mind, SafeSign has developed a new type of PVC-free signage. This is based on PET-X material. PET-X has longer durability than your average PVC sign and is also flame retardant. Its a high-quality, environmentally friendly material, that is completely recyclable and has a much longer lifespan. In addition, our SafeSign Pet-X signs have the appearance of the much more expensive polycarbonate and/or acrylic. But of course, at the cost of a regular PVC sign.
We are happy to show you how our escape route signage can be applied to your ship.
For more information, please contact us.