Tips for Improving Your Evacuation Maps

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Having read thousands of emergency response plans, here are a few tips for improving your evacuation maps. Your creative services department should be able to incorporate these changes. Or send your maps to us and our design team will enhance your maps.

  • When it comes to emergency response and safety, functionality trumps aesthetic beauty, yet it’s often branding and design folks who create the maps. AED locations, stairwells, street names, rallying points and other key info – make them twice or three times as large as you have them now.
  • Use a font that’s easy to read. A capital “I” should not look like a lowercase “l.” You can’t go wrong with Times New Roman. Beware of Helvetica.
  • Black is a lot easier to read than gray. The goal is for people to be able to read your maps even if there’s smoke in the room and they don’t have their glasses.
  • If you’re not sure if something needs to be on your map – for example, hash marks for parking spaces outside of your building – leave it out. That way, the important information will pop.
  • If your maps are embedded in a Word doc, try to find the original maps as high-resolution vector files of at least 300 dpi. Vector files will print better (Word will reduce the resolution).
  • Your maps should be easy to read on smartphones. Vertical rectangles will work better than squares or circles.
  • For printed guidebooks, foldout maps or 8½ x 11’’ pull-up maps can make a big difference. Here’s UF Health’s foldout map and Colgate University’s pull-up map:

map 2map

If you’d like to see an example of how we improved a map or if you have any questions, I can be reached at [email protected]

Republished with permission of Scott Cohen

Scott is the CEO of Wellspring Info.

Wellspring Info helps organizations improve and deliver their emergency response plans through quick-reference guidebooks and mobile apps.scott cohen

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