Whatever happened to …

… red exit signs?

In the past week, I’ve had cause to be in waiting rooms, well, waiting. One thing that they all had in common were green exit signs.

Now, you and I grew up with red exit signs.

Of course, they come in various permutations.

Recently, I had a discussion with a professional who had purchased a new office space and was forced to remove the red signs in favour of new green ones.

In addition to the cost, I got one of those discussions about education.

“When we did fire drills at school, we were told to stay calm and walk to the exit. Now, we have green signs that imply that we need to run!”

It was an interesting take on the concept. Of course, the schools just had to be the root of all the evil!

Of course, there is a logical reason for the switch.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Do you agree that the green sign conveys the concept of running?
  • Of course, Canada has two official languages. How was the red sign made bilingual? Do you know where one of those is?
  • How about your school or place of work? Have all the exit signs been changed to the new green?
  • Can you name a place that still has a red sign?
  • Click “play” and close your eyes. Can you name the band?
  • How about this one?
  • Do you have a favourite song mentioning “fire” or “sign” that you can add?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday series of memories. You can read them all here.

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If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Doug, I think that I have this type of exit sign in my classroom (it might be here or it might be in one of our sign books), but I had no idea what it stood for. I’m so accustomed to the red EXIT signs. I wonder why the change. Could it be because red’s associated with stop and green’s associated with go? For those that can’t read the words, the visuals might help. It does look like this person is running though. Possibly the wrong message to communicate. Thanks for teaching me something new on this Sunday morning.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find it interesting that they tried to rationalize moving to the international standard by saying it would help new Canadians and visitors to Canada who might not speak English or French. I would think it would help everyone, all Canadians, when they are travelling abroad, given that the EXIT and SORTIE signs are unlikely to be seen in many other countries.

    Having said that, we still have the red signs in my school, and I don’t see that changing in the near future until there is some kind of national or provincial requirement that the signs be changed in old buildings.

    As for songs with “fire“ or “exit“ in the title, I will offer up these two favorites. The second one doesn’t have “exit” in the title, but it’s a good song and it fits with the general concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tunes, Andy. I just had a listen. In the case of the person I had been talking to, his community apparently has a bylaw that says that new offices must have the green signs. It was everywhere that I was “waiting” this past week!


  4. I’ve seen the green signs everywhere else when I’m travelling abroad and I assume that the change is meant to make the signs more understandable to everyone by using a graphic instead of English language. It did take me awhile to figure out what the signs meant when I first encountered them, and I agree that they seem to imply you should run to the exit.

    Related but not, often the sign for pharmacy when I’m travelling abroad is a green cross. Maybe we’ll move to that next?



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