What Fire Safety Signs Do I Need?
Even the most highly trained and level headed of people can need help in an emergency. Whilst fire safety training is hugely important, it’s simply not enough to rely on to ensure that everyone is safe and sound in the event of an emergency.
Correct fire safety signage is the next step in fire safety management and the law expects compliance with the Fire Safety Order 2005 and the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals Regulations) 1996.
There are 4 key areas of fire safety signage that your business will need.
SAFE CONDITION SIGNS
These indicate a place, action or direction which will lead to a place of safety. They include: -
Evacuation Route Signs
These signs are all designed to assist in the occupant’s escape from the building.
Fire exit signs are designed to clearly indicate the route to the nearest fire exit.
A fire risk assessment, or survey by a professional, should clearly define where these signs should be located in your premises.
If anyone unfamiliar with the property has a chance of not knowing how to exit the building, then a fire exit sign will be necessary.
In larger buildings, one sign will not adequately highlight the way to the fire escape. In this instance it is necessary to have a series of fire exit signs with arrows clearly directing you towards the exit. You should be able to see one of these signs from any point within the building.
Fire Assembly Point Signs
The fire assembly point sign indicates the point at which all staff should assembly during an evacuation. This is so that they can be accounted for to ensure everyone is safe.
In some instances, such as large buildings where there are multiple businesses or a large number of people, there may be a need for several fire assembly points. These may also be numbered, lettered or established with a company logo. This allows people to organise themselves once safely away from the building.
Other safe condition signs include means of opening doors – (Push bar to open, break glass to open) and disabled refuge signs
MANDATORY INFORMATION SIGNS
The meaning of these is – “you must do this”.
Fire doors are a key part of fire safety and containment. Leaving fire doors open can allow a fire to spread much faster than anticipated. Take a look at our article “Why Fire Doors Are Labelled 'Keep Shut’”
These labels clearly identify a fire door and that it must be kept shut.
Other signs in this category include “Fire exit keep clear” and “Automatic fire door keep clear”
FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT SIGNAGE
All firefighting equipment within the business should be clearly labelled. This includes fire extinguishers, wet/dry risers and fire alarm call points. Here are some examples: -
Fire Extinguisher Identification Sign
These clearly display which kind of fire extinguisher it is, what kind of fire it’s safe to use on, and which kind of fire it’s not safe for.
95% of fires tackled by an extinguisher are out within 2 minutes, so it’s absolutely imperative that the signs clearly display where and when it can be used effectively.
These signs should be as close as possible to the fire extinguishers they refer to - directly above the extinguisher on the wall, or mounted on the extinguisher stand on which they sit.
Fire Alarm Call Point Sign
Fire alarm call point signs are also equally important. They allow a person to instantly see where they may raise an alarm should it be needed.
They should be mounted as close to the fire alarm call point as possible. This is also why fire extinguishers are never too far from a fire alarm call point.
These are also colour coded red.
These signs are to prevent, warn or prohibit any actions that will increase the risk of a fire. They are designed to clearly show the action which is prohibited and often why it is prohibited.
You will have come across these in your everyday life. They warn a person against doing something which will increase risk.
Most commonly you will see a “no smoking” sign, but there are others such as “Do not use lift in the event of fire”,.
Hazard Warning Signs
These are used to warn a person of the specific dangers and may be accompanied by a prohibition sign. If you happen to be in an area of flammable material, the signs would warn you that you are near flammable liquid. You may then also see a prohibition sign which tells you not to smoke
A fire risk assessment will outline whether these are necessary for your business.
Fire Action Notice
A fire action notice is a descriptive sign for “what to do in an emergency”. As you can see it includes several of the types of signs listed above. It’s a sort of one-stop-shop for everything you need to know and is particularly useful for visitors to the building who have not been trained on how to react during a fire or when discovering a fire.
Nearly all commercial premises must display fire action notices. They are usually placed next to fire alarm call-points and sometimes in staff common areas such as tea rooms.
The regulations stipulate that fire safety signs must be visible under all material conditions. This means that in the event of power failure or during winter months, the best solution is very often a photoluminescent sign. You can learn more about these here.