Fires or accidents in tunnels can be a major risk to human life and the effective identification of escape routes is paramount. Limited escape facilities and difficulties encountered by emergency services in gaining access to tunnel incidents calls for considered fire and emergency safety management.

Tunnels and underground transport facilities are growing in terms of popularity and size in order to reduce rising traffic densities and congestion. As tunnel design evolves we need to identify the many hazards to be addressed:

Increase in length of modern tunnels, unfamiliar territory - egress disorientation

Transportation of hazardous materials - potential of contamination

Higher fire loads due to growing increase in traffic volume coupled with higher load capacities – increasing fire risk

Mechanical defects in motor vehicles – sources of ignition.

Potential deterioration and failure/smoke logging of traditional escape route systems.

Vehicle breakdown, road traffic accidents with inherently disorientated vehicle occupants.

Fires within tunnels present an extremely high risk to occupants, the below table lists some of the international tragedies from recent years. The numbers highlight the horrific consequences of tunnel fire.





Mont Blanc, France


Hokuriku Tunnel, Japan


Tauern Tunnel, Austria


Pecorile Tunnel, Italy


Vierzy Tunnel, France


Isola delle Femmine, Italy


Pfander Tunnel, Austria


Kaprun, Austria


Nihonzaka, Japan


St Gottard Tunnel, Switzerland


*Source: Alan Beard & Richard Carrel - The handbook of tunnel fire safety: 2005


With all the associated risks it is imperative that a fast and effective evacuation system is established to correctly identify the escape route educating evacuees to make an informed decision on egress.

The serious outcome and risks associated with tunnel fires, emergency escape route systems are of the utmost importance in relation to life safety. With this in mind Jalite have developed an outstanding product raange for tunnels - engineered for life safety!

Owing to the stringent requirements on constructional materials for use within tunnels, many of the common materials used in the photoluminescent industry are deemed unsuitable due to non compliance to the low smoke zero halogen requirements (LSZH).

Jalite have strived to overcome the material restrictions and risen to the challenge meeting and exceeding requirements with the all new Jalite 316 LLL System and Jalite Polycarbonate Photoluminescent Escape Route Signs designed specifically for tunnels.