What is Fire Safety Signage?
Fire Safety is very important in the workplace. Ensuring that you, your staff, and the building’s residents can evacuate safely in an emergency should be a priority for any business owner or landlord.
Using the correct signage provides valuable information to help you deal with fires and evacuate. Appropriate signage and an updated Fire Risk Assessment in your premises will help keep everyone safe.
We’ve all seen the Fire Exit signs above our heads and on fire doors, and instructions next to Extinguishers, but do you know what they mean? KJ Fire Safety are here to explain everything you need to know about Fire Safety Signage.
What Businesses Need Fire Safety Signs?
It is a legal requirement, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, that all occupants of a building must be informed of fire safety instructions. Using signage helps with this and should be added as part of your Fire Risk Assessment.
The following premises need fire safety signage:
- Offices and Shops
- Shopping centres
- Premises that provide care, including care homes and hospitals
- Community centres and shared spaces like libraries
- Places of worship
- Residential Buildings*
- Pubs and clubs
- Cafes and restaurants
- Sports centres
- Tents and marquees
- Hotels and hostels
- Factories and warehouses
*Signage is usually not required within private premises, but any shared stairwells, corridors and lobbies need emergency signage.
Fire Safety Signs Explained
There are many different types of Fire Safety sign. Each is just as important as the last, so everyone should have some familiarity and know what they are for.
All signs follow a standardised colour scheme set out in the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 Act. If your existing signage does not match the colour scheme, they need to be updated as soon as possible.
Here are the different categories of sign your premises needs:
Green Fire Exit Signs
All businesses need to have Fire Exits that are clearly marked with signs, as well as the safest route to them. Green Exit signs direct everyone in the building towards the closest exit. They should be mounted on the ceilings and so can be clearly seen during power outages and through smoke. We offer standard, fluorescent and illuminated signs to suit your requirements. The colour green represents safety, correctness and stands out indoors.
The number of signs you’ll need varies depending on the size and complexity of the building as well as the number of people using it. Once you know how many you need, get in touch with KJ Fire Safety for supply and installation.
The Exit Doors themselves need to be clearly marked with signage so that they are only used in an emergency. In larger premises, these doors are often alarmed to prevent improper use, so keeping them clearly marked is essential.
Fire Exit Doors must have a sign saying, ‘Fire Door, Keep Shut.’ Some fire doors have push bars (also known as ‘panic’ bars) so the door can be opened easily in an emergency. If your place of work or property has one of these doors, instructions on how to open the door must be clearly on show.
Your Fire Assembly points should also be clearly marked with signs to help with evacuation.
Red Prohibition Signs
Red signs are used to instruct employees and visitors on what is prohibited within the premises. ‘No smoking’ and ‘no entry’ signs are the ones we see most often. These signs must be followed, and are coloured red, the colour we associate with danger.
‘No smoking’ signs are found in every commercial building as smoking both tobacco or e-cigarettes is illegal in places of work and other indoor areas. You must display these signs around your premises, and have a designated area that is safe to smoke in. Failure to display these signs will result in punishment after an inspection by the HSE.
Despite the ban, smoking is still one of the leading causes of fire in the home. The number is getting lower every year, but it is still just as important to be responsible when smoking.
Red Fire Safety Signs
Red signs are also used to draw attention to emergency equipment such as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire hoses and emergency stop buttons. These signs stand out and are easily found when there is an emergency.
In buildings with lifts, there will be a red prohibition sign telling people not to use the lift when there is a fire or other emergency. As we see these signs every day, they blend into the background over time, so are designed to be clear and eye-catching for when they are needed.
Yellow Warning Signs
Sometimes known as Hazard or Caution signs, the purpose of Warning Signs is to make people aware of potential hazards. They are painted yellow to represent this and be eye-catching. Yellow is also the first colour the human eye notices, so ensures no one misses these signs.
The most common usage is for trip hazards, high voltage and to mark substances and materials that are highly flammable, toxic, or corrosive. These signs ensure that anyone in these areas or working with dangerous substances is aware of the hazards and is taking the correct precautions to keep themselves safe.
Blue Safety Signs
Blue signs with white images are mandatory signs telling people what clothing and gear is needed to work safely in that area. They are always seen on building and construction sites where employees and authorised personnel must wear appropriate footwear, high-visibility jackets, and hard hats.
The colour blue may not stand out as much as the ‘traffic light’ colours used by the other categories, but if they are put in the right places, they can’t be missed.
Multi-Coloured Safety Signs
Many signs are combined together to provide all the required warnings and information within a small space. If a person has to read multiple signs, they are likely to miss cautions or information that could save their life in an emergency.
The most common combined sign we provide is for Fire Extinguishers and other fire equipment. The red part tells a person that the equipment is for an emergency only, the blue (or sometimes black) is the type of extinguisher, and the green sections are guidance on how to use the extinguisher and what types of fire it can be used on.
Fire Action signs provide all the instructions staff and visitors need in case of fire. The blue sections tell them what to do, and the red sections warn them what not to do. They are clearly spaced on a large sign that can be seen easily even in low visibility. All employees and residents should familiarise themselves with this sign as well as the building’s Fire Risk Assessment.
Fire Safety Sign Installation
If your business or premises requires new or updated fire safety signage to comply with the law and your Fire Risk Assessment, get in touch with KJ Fire Safety for inspection, supply, and installation.