Designing and Planning Ahead for Health Care Centers

Planning ahead will help you get ready to open a health care center. This section includes:

Why are signs important?

Signage in health care centers will help with registration, evaluation and treatment of patients. Health care center activation plans should integrate signage into the setup of the facility.

Things to do before an event

Don't wait until a drill or an emergency to become familiar with your plans for signage. Here are a few things you should do before an emergency occurs:

  1. Include sign coordinators in planning sessions.
  2. If possible, walk through the actual facility and note places where signs will be used. This will help staff anticipate set-up logistics and may save valuable time in an exercise or emergency event.
  3. Plan what signs will be needed to help with traffic and parking issues and where they will be placed around the outside of the facility and surrounding streets.

Sample health care center layout

Every health care center will be different. This sample layout was developed by Public Health Seattle-King County for a planned site in Seattle. Your health care center will differ in size, complexity and other factors. Planning ahead to account for those differences is crucial.

Assigning a signage coordinator

Coordinating signage setup and placement can be extremely time-consuming. We recommend that each health care center appoint a signage coordinator to:


  • Work with planners to map out sign placement
  • Print, store and organize signs
  • Practice setup
  • Train volunteers


  • Ensure signs are delivered to the health care center
  • Coordinate setup and placement throughout the health care center


  • Coordinate disassembly, complete inventory and return signs to storage

Things to consider when printing signs

  • For long-term use, signs should be printed on reusable materials so you can store the signs and use them again and again. Because of budget or time constraints, you may need to print these locally and in alternate sizes.
  • Most of the signs are in two colors to make it easier to identify than when there are many signs in the health care center. However, printing the signs in black and white can cut costs.
  • Plan ahead for each site. Consider how signs will be set up in both the registration and clinical areas; which signs you'll need and what sizes.
  • Look through the sign catalog to see what signs are available.

Additional supplies to have ready

  • Parking and foot-traffic signs ready in different sizes. They are necessary to help people find the health care center entrances and parking areas.
  • Whiteboards and markers available to make unforeseen signs.
  • Basic supplies like scissors, sturdy tape, zip ties, permanent markers and blank paper for making and hanging impromptu signs.