Exit signs are extremely important to have in any building or office. While some are required by law, others are simply erected as an aid to anyone who may need to get out of the building or office in an emergency. Every building must have a posted evacuation route in case of a fire, flood, tornado, hurricane or any other type of manmade or natural disaster that may require a quick exodus from an area. While it may seem mundane to point out where the obvious points are to leave a building, it can actually save lives.
As one walks down the hallway of a business or office building, one will notice that there are many doorways leading to offices, supply rooms, stairways, bathrooms, conference rooms and many other areas. If someone was unfamiliar with the layout of the building, they would not know which door would lead to which area without it having been clearly marked. Having these areas clearly marked would be extremely important in the event of a catastrophe within the building. Without lighting or power, those hallways could become a darkened and confusing maze. In an emergency, seconds could mean the difference between life and death. This is where exit signs, particularly lighted ones, are really important.
The same can be said for doorways that lead out of the building. Not all doorways are going to allow the person traveling through them to reach the exterior of the building. Some may be doorways that lead to the basement or to the rooftop. Some may be doorways that lead to another part of the building, such as the parking garage. These are not areas that someone fleeing a burning building would want to end up running in to by accident. In an emergency it may be difficult to ascertain which doorway would lead to the outside and which one does not. However, if it is properly marked with exit signs, then the person fleeing the area would know which door leads to the exterior of the building.
In most buildings and office spaces exit signs are mandatory. While some doors may lead someone to the outside, many of them have security alarms that are attached to them as well. If someone were to leave the building through the wrong door, the security alarm could sound. These alarms are in place to keep people from unlawfully gaining entry, as well as unlawfully leaving in some situations. If someone were to sound these alarms by accident, it could possibly lead to prosecution by the owner of the building.
In a building that has many floors or hundreds of doorways, it can be very confusing to navigate even when there is no emergency. In cases of emergency, imagine how much more difficult and confusing navigating might be if there was smoke and fire as well. If all doors are properly labeled, this helps eliminate much of that confusion. In an emergency it allows people to access their proper evacuation routes by locating the exit signs so they can quickly and safely leave the area.