This presentation was part of the Universal Design Conference at Sydney Town Hall on 30-31 August 2016.
A critical part of planning for safe evacuations is providing clear wayfinding information for all occupants, with appropriate exit and emergency signage. This is currently not the case in Australia or overseas. In fact, the current approach to providing exit signs is very limited and does not consider the abilities or needs of all members of society. This can cause some people to experience confusion, or delays, or being directed to a non-accessible evacuation path during their evacuation. The initiative presents a solution to bridge this gap in current exit sign requirements and to help identify important accessible features that can be provided as part of enhanced evacuation strategies. This includes suitable signage to show accessible exit paths, safe refuge areas, emergency evacuation lifts and other evacuation devices in a consistent approach. This paper will present the case to support the use of these enhanced emergency and exit sign systems that adopt universal design principles. This approach is considered world’s best practice and can help provide a much safer and more inclusive built environment for everyone. ‘Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign’ is an initiative of ‘The Accessible Exit Sign Project.’ The Project is an international awareness campaign that promotes the need for an accessible evacuation route from all workplaces, public buildings, and transportation.