IBC®, NFPA® and UL® standards and code requirements for Area of Refuge Two-Way Communication
IBC® Code Adoption Map With Current Year of Enforcement
Note: Your area may be enforcing a different version of the code.
Please check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)
IBC® Code (2015, 2018 & 2021)
1009.6.5 Two-way Communication. Area of Refuge shall be provided with a two-way communication system complying with Sections 1009.8.l and 1009.8.2.
1009.8 Two-way Communication. A two-way communication system complying with Sections 1009.8.1 and 1009.8.2 shall be provided at the landing serving each elevator or bank of elevators on each accessible floor that is one or more stories above or below the level of exit discharge.
1.) Two-way communication systems are not required at the landing serving each elevator or bank of elevators where the two-way communication system is provided within Areas of Refuge in accordance with Section 1009.6.5.
2.) Two-way communication systems are not required on floors provided with ramps conforming to the provisions of Section 1012.
3.) Two-way communication systems are not required at the landings serving only service elevators that are not designated as part of the accessible means of egress or serve as part of the required accessible route into a facility.
4.) Two-way communication systems are not required at the landings serving only freight elevators.
5.) Two-way communication systems are not required at the landing serving a private residence elevator.
6.) Two-way communication systems are not required in Group I-2 or I-3 facilities (2018 only).
1009.8.1 System requirements. Two-way communication systems shall provide communication between each required location (RATH® Call Boxes) and the fire command center or a central control point (RATH® Base Stations) location approved by the fire department. Where the central control point is not a constantly attended location, a two-way communication system shall have a timed automatic telephone dial-out capability to a monitoring location or 9-1-1 . The two-way communication system shall include both audible and visible signals.
1009.8.2 Directions. Directions (Part #7049) for the use of the two-way communication system, instructions for summoning assistance via the two-way communication system and written identification of the location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system. Signage shall comply with the ICC A117.1 requirements for visual characters.
1009.9 Signage. Signage indicating special accessibility provisions shall be provided as shown:
1.) Each door providing access to an Area of Refuge an adjacent floor area shall be identified by a sign stating: AREA OF REFUGE. (Part #7044)
2.) Each door providing access to an exterior area for assisted rescue shall be identified by a sign stating: EXTERIOR AREA FOR ASSISTED RESCUE.(Part #7086)
Signage shall comply with the ICC A117.1 requirements for visual characters and include the International Symbol of Accessibility. Where exit sign illumination is required by Section 1013.3, the signs shall be illuminated. (Part #7050) Additionally, visual characters, raised character and braille signage complying with ICC A117.1 shall be located at each door to an Area of Refuge and exterior Area for Assisted Rescue in accordance with Section 1013.4. (Part #7044)
1009.10 Directional Signage. Directional Signage indicating the location of all other means of egress and which of those are accessible means of egress shall be provided at the following: (Part # 7047L-Left or #7047R-Right)
1.) At exits serving a required accessible space but not providing an approved accessible means of egress.
2.) At elevator landings.
3.) Within Area(s) of Refuge.
1009.11 Instructions. In Areas of Refuge and exterior Areas for Assisted Rescue, instructions on the use of the area under emergency conditions shall be posted. Signage shall comply with the ICC A117.1 requirements for visual characters. The instructions shall include all of the following:
1.) Persons able to use the exit stairway do so as soon as possible, unless they are assisting others.
2.) Information on planned availability of assistance in the use of stairs or supervised operation of elevators and how to summon such assistance.
3.) Directions for use of the two-way communication system where provided.
403.5.3.1 Stairway Communication System. A telephone or other two-way communications system connected to an approved constantly attended station shall be provided at not less than every fifth floor in each stairway where the doors to the stairway are locked
24.10* Two-Way Emergency Communications Systems for Rescue Assistance:
Editor's Note: For the 2022 edition of the Code, the title of this section has been revised to reflect the inclusive set of requirements covered within the section. As explained in A.24.10, types of two-way ECSs can vary but are generally members of the same system type and are often required by building and fire codes in many locations within a building. These systems are provided to allow building occupants to communicate with emergency personnel when they need assistance or rescue. These systems are grouped together because they are basically the same type of equipment that provides communications in a different location. Many of the requirements found in 24.10.1 through 24.10.14 are new for the 2022 edition and include requirements from UL 2525, Two-Way Emergency Communications Systems for Rescue Assistance.
24.10.1: Systems used for area of refuge emergency communications systems, stairway communications systems, elevator landing communications systems, and occupant evacuation elevator lobby communications systems shall be listed in accordance with applicable standards, such as UL 2525, Two-Way Emergency Communications Systems for Rescue Assistance.
24.10.2: Where required by the enforcing authority, governing laws, codes, or standards, any communications system specified in this section shall be installed in accordance with 24.10.2 through 24.10.14
188.8.131.52: When a remote call station(s) is activated by a building occupant(s), a two-way live voice communication shall be required to operate between the remote call station(s) and a constantly attended location.
184.108.40.206*: The master control station shall be installed in a central control point within the building.
220.127.116.11*: The constantly attended location shall be located either within the building or at a monitoring location and be approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
24.10.6*: If the central control point is not constantly attended, the system shall have a timed automatic communications capability to connect with an off-premises constantly attended monitoring location approved by the authority having jurisdiction, where trained personnel can initiate the appropriate response.
24.10.7*: In the event of an off-premises connection, a signal shall be transmitted to the off-premises monitoring location, identifying the specific building prior to initiating the live voice two-way communication.
24.10.8: Two-way emergency communications systems shall have the capability of transmitting a verbal signal to identify the specific building address to off-premises monitoring personnel before operators complete the connection to the remote call station.
24.10.9*: The physical locations of the remote call stations and the master control station shall be as designated by the building code in force and the system designer and approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
24.10.10: The specific location of each active remote call station shall be identified on the master control station display on a floor and area basis in accordance with 24.10.11.
24.10.11: Where all active calls are not simultaneously displayed, the master control stations shall provide the following:
1.) Previously answered calls shall be capable of being prioritized as urgent on the master control station to differentiate more urgent life safety related calls from less urgent calls.
2.) A minimum of 8 active call station identifiers shall be visible in the following order of priority:
a) Previously unanswered calls, oldest first
b) Previously answered calls, prioritized as urgent, oldest first
c) Previously answered calls, not prioritized as urgent, oldest first
24.10.12: The remote call stations shall provide for hands-free, two-way communication and provide an audible and a visual signal to indicate communication has occurred.
24.10 - Area of Refuge (Area of Rescue Assistance) Emergency Communications Systems
24.10.1 Where required by the building code in force, an area of rescue assistance two-way communications system shall be installed in accordance with 24.10
24.10.2 The area of Refuge (Rescue Assistance) emergency communications system shall be comprised of remotely located area of refuge stations and a central control point.
24.10.5 - If the Central control point is not constantly attended, it shall have a timed automatic communications capability to connect with a constantly attended monitoring location acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction where responsible personnel can initiate the appropriate response.
24.10.6 - The physical location of the central control point shall be as designated by the building code in force or the authority having jurisdiction.
24.10.8 - Instructions for the use of the two-way communications system, instructions for summoning assistance via the two-way communications system, and written identifications, including in braille, of the location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system.
7.2.12 Areas of Refuge. - Area of Refuge (Area of Rescue Assistance) Emergency Communications Systems
18.104.22.168.1 - An area of refuge used as part of a required accessible means of egress in accordance with 7.5.4; consisting of a story in a building that is protected throughout by an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 9.7; and having an accessible story that is one or more stories above or below a story of exit discharge shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Each elevator landing shall be provided with a two-way communication system for communication between the elevator landing and the fire command center or a central control point approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
(2) Directions for the use of the two-way communication system, instructions for summoning assistance via the two-way communication system, and written identification of the location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system.
(3) The two-way communication system shall include both audible and visible signals.
22.214.171.124.5 - The area of refuge shall be provided with a two-way communication system for communication between the area of refuge and a central control point. The door opening to the stair enclosure or the elevator door and the associated portion of the area of refuge that the stair enclosure door opening or elevator door serves shall be identified by signage. (See 126.96.36.199.5.)
188.8.131.52.6 - Instructions for summoning assistance, via the two-way communication system, and written identification of the area of refuge location shall be posted adjacent to the two-way communication system.
184.108.40.206.5 - Each area of refuge shall be identified by a sign that reads as the follows: AREA OF REFUGE
220.127.116.11.5.1 - The sign required by 18.104.22.168.5 shall conform to the requirements of ICC/ANSI A117.1, American National Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, for such signage and shall display the international symbol of accessibility. Signs also shall be located as follows:
(1) At each door opening providing access to the area of refuge
(2) At all exits not providing an accessible means of egress, as defined in 22.214.171.124
(3) Where necessary to indicate clearly the direction to an area of refuge
126.96.36.199.5.2 - Signs required by 188.8.131.52.5 shall be illuminated as required for exit signs where exit sign illumination is required.
184.108.40.206.6 - Tactile signage complying with ICC/ANSI A117.1, American National Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, shall be located at each door opening to an area of refuge.
32.1.3 Emergency, supervisory, and trouble signals shall be annunciated at the Master Control Unit.
32.1.4 The rescue assistance system shall have the capability of signaling emergency and trouble conditions to a fire alarm system and/or other equipment.
33.2.1 Failure of any component in the audio chain resulting in the loss of emergency signaling capability shall cause an audible trouble signal. Compliance is to be verified with the two-way emergency communication system in the normal condition and repeated with the system in the emergency condition.