Why should current exit signs be replaced by running man signs?

At Guard-X, we keep informed about all national laws and regulations concerning the fire safety sector. In this blog post, learn more about replacing traditional emergency exits with standard Running Man signs.

In the Interest of Standardization

In 2010, a major change was made to Canada's National Building Code (NBC) concerning emergency signs, in order to comply with various international standards (such as ISO). The red and white "EXIT" and "OUT" signs must now be replaced by green and white signs representing a pictogram of a man running... towards the emergency exit!

A Symbol that’s Clear

An advantage of the Running Man pictogram is that it is easily recognizable and understood in all countries. Since it is not subject to the language barrier, this universal symbol is definitely a sensible choice when it comes to optimizing fire safety procedures. Depending on where it is installed, the Running Man sign can be configured in three ways: left (←), right (→) or here (↓). Moreover, unlike conventional signs, the Running Man never has arrows in two different directions at the same time. What could be clearer!

Bright Colours and Lightning for Optimal Visibility

In addition to its bright colours, the new Running Man sign has integrated lighting, both in normal and emergency lighting mode. By comparison, the old signs were matte and opaque, and only the red letters were illuminated.

Basically, when there is a lot of smoke, the "Running Man" signs are much more visible than the old signs. And since emergency exit signs are especially designed to facilitate the safe evacuation of occupants in the event of a fire or other emergency, they must be visible at a glance.

Making Sure You Are Compliant

As of 2010, each province has adopted the National Building Code of Canada regulations, with certain adjustments depending on the province. For example, some have requested a waiver for buildings with traditional signs installed in a proper manner before this new regulation came into effect. However, since the systematic installation of "Running Man" signs in new buildings is mandatory in Quebec (as of the summer of 2016), we recommend that all our customers comply as soon as possible!

At Guard-X, our priority is peace of mind for our customers. As a leader in fire prevention, we are proud to offer a wide range of state-of-the-art products and professional services (installation, maintenance, inspection, certification, training, sales, etc.) For more information, contact us!


For detailed information on the official standards in the field, visit the following websites: