20 December 2010

Library Fire Evacuation Floorplans

Addendum Note #1: I previously had an image of a emergency evacuation floor plan shown above, but I removed it in February 2011 after noting that it had become the second most popular website image return on Google Pakistan when the search keyword phrase "fire evacuation floorplan templete" (SIC) was used. I kept getting a lot of hits from Pakistan on this single entry, but rarely--if any--on my others. If it had been another country, or had just as many other views from other regions on the globe, or if I found that Google Pakistan was looking at other design entries as equally as this emergency evacuation floor plan, I may not have given it a second thought. But considering the present politico-terroristic climate, I felt it might perhaps be better to err on the side of caution and remove it than to continue offering this image for public consumption.
Addendum Note #2: While viewing my blog stats in late September 2011, the thought occurred to me: "I haven't seen any hits from Google Pakistan in a LONG while!" Strange, isn't it? Either removing the diagram made my blog less favourable, or the quality of my design work has plummeted in recent months!

Ok, enough about my dirty laundry (from my 15 December post). I know you really don't want to know what colour my boxers are anyway. But discussing the cold conditions in my room and thinking about the space heater that one of the facilities staff members was kind enough to bring me from his personal home reminds me of a project the same facilities guy brings me on occasion--fire evacuation floorplans.  

What does a graphic designer have to do with architectural floorplans you might ask. Of course, I'm no architect, however, this recurring project is to prepare new drawings of existing or modified branch library floorplans to show where all the fire exits, fire extinguishers, and fire pulls are. The floorplans are important for facilities to have for reference, and for documentation to show fire marshals that the libraries are in compliance with city ordinances and fire codes. After all, what would happen if I walked out of my office while my space heater was full on, trying to cope with my frigid room, and it overheated and caught fire from being on too long? I would sure want to know where the escape exit, fire pull and/or extinguisher was--wouldn't you?

So this is how it works: my facilities colleague would send a .pdf or bring me a physical copy and I'd scan it off, then work on the image in Photoshop and Illustrator to clean it up, remove unwanted visual items, then place images of fire extinguishers, pulls, and lines indicating routes to the exit points. Sometimes I have to piece multiple floorplan images together to create a single floorplan suitable for making a one page document. I've suggested that--for the sake of consistency--over time I redrawn all the floorplans for facilities' record books, using the same graphic icons and text. 

You might not think this kind of project would be included in my role as a graphic designer for the library, but there you have it. I'm not only about promotional marketing and publicity! I'm also about making sure each of the various departments have the visual tools they need to do their jobs and be able communicate among themselves, with other departments, and the public too.

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