In the event of an emergency, a map to lead employees to safety is critical. It may be the most unnoticed sign in your office building on a day-to-day basis, but when catastrophe strikes it will become the most important. Here are some tips for creating an effective laminated map. Use general office laminators for creating evacuation maps and diagrams.
- Sketch a basic layout of the office including walls and doors. You can use the drawing features on your Microsoft Office program to create a clear, illustrated document
- Identify a starting point. This is the “You Are Here” mark that helps the person reading the map know their bearings. The starting point is the one detail that will change, depending on how many maps you will need to post throughout the building. Every map should indicate the exact location where the person reading the map is standing.
- Add a compass. Show somewhere in the corner of the diagram a clearly marked four-point compass with North, South, West and East defined by bold initials.
- Define exit points. Emphasize the primary exits of the building in bold letters on the layout. When a person is unfamiliar with the building layout or is simply panicking in a crisis, confirming exit locations helps determine their next move.
- Defining a marshal area. A marshal area is a designated location well away from the building where all occupants can gather safely. This allows a head count to ensure everyone is out of the building. As not everyone will be familiar with the term “marshal area” you can simply draw a circle a distance from the diagram with the caption “safe area, go here when exiting.”
- Other designations. Also on your map, indicate the location of fire extinguishers using a fire extinguisher icon and first aid stations using a blue cross icon.
Laminate your map with quality laminating pouches for durability and display in heavily trafficked areas throughout the building.