Red Exit Sign Regulations

Recently, all new buildings in Ontario that got the go-ahead installed the new building code ‘Green Running Man’ EXIT sign. The energy wasting familiar red sign that read “EXIT” is one step closer disappearing for good.

The switch is driven by Canada’s changing demographics and willingness to follow the international codes such as those of the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. The red ‘EXIT’ signs are gradually being phased out in favour of green pictographs showing a silhouetted person, nicknamed the “Green Running Man”. The signs are coloured green to represent “go” or “safety” – rather than red, which in many places around the world represents “stop” or “hazard”.

LED Exit & Emergency Signs

The NRC updated its model building code in 2010 and provinces have gradually been adopting the new regulations.

The Ontario government (and most provinces) chose to adapt the green EXIT signs a few years ago and has required every new building or major building renovation undertaken since January 2014 to include them, which explains why so many of the green EXIT signs are popping up now. Ontario’s residences are recognizing the green EXIT signs in malls, schools, museums, airports and many more commonplace buildings.

As of December 2017, the province of Ontario is encouraging residential building, Hotels and businesses to retrofit their lights with more efficient LED lights. The encouragement comes as a government provides incentives for each energy efficient EXIT sign that replaces an older version. Currently, Ontario’s government is not forcing the switch in non-government facilities.

In fact, there is an additional high incentive for including the ‘Green Running Man’ signs in the retrofit process.

Looking down the road, we can see big additional safety changes in the “EXIT Sign World”. After inspecting and collecting the evidence from the 9/11 terrorist attack in the Twin Towers, the safety committee came to some interesting conclusions. Due to the tremendous fire, black smoke was covering the building hallways and common areas, and people were forced into crawling position in order to breath clear air. Due to the fact EXIT signs are mounted on ceilings and above doors the black smoke was covering them and caused people to waste crucial time finding the closest exit.

The conclusion and proposed changes are to install an additional sign closer to the ground in high buildings. The additional sign will be the ‘Green Running Man’ Glowing Light EXIT sign. The sign will glow for 90 minutes without power or batteries. The new sign will ‘charge’ constantly from the existing light in the area and will glow in case of an emergency for 90 minutes.

This safety change will be adapted by the Canadian government in the next 5 to 10 years.