UK Fire Safety Signs Guide
Thankfully for many of us, fire safety signs are something we rarely have to think about during our day-to-day lives. But in an emergency, they can be vital in helping to safeguard lives, which is why business owners and building managers need to keep them at the forefront of their thinking when it comes to overall fire safety. From where to place the signs to what each sign or symbol means, there is more to the topic than you might initially think.
For this reason, this month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’ve created a complete guide to fire safety signs for the UK. We hope that you’ll find this guide useful in helping you to understand which fire safety signs you need in order to comply with regulations.
Why are fire safety signs so important?
Anyone in your building, whether that’s employees or visitors, should be able to quickly find the nearest exit or escape route in an emergency. When a fire breaks out, fire signage is important as it gives a quick visual guide to all of this information, as well as the location of important fire safety equipment and other directions.
Without appropriate fire signage in your building, even people who are there every day might be confused about where to go and what to do when they hear an alarm or when they spot fire or smoke. This can be extremely dangerous, as it increases the risk of injury and harm, and it can also lead to panic for anyone unfamiliar with the surroundings.
In addition to this, there are some legal factors involved too, making fire signs especially important to anyone responsible for the building. Let’s look at this aspect next.
What are the regulations for fire safety signs?
There are two pieces of legislation you need to ensure you comply with if you’re the person responsible for fire safety in your business or building in the UK.
The first is one you should already be very familiar with — the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This is the ultimate piece of fire safety legislation, requiring you to put adequate measures in place to safeguard lives, including making sure exits and routes of escape are kept free of obstacles and are clearly signposted. The RRO also connects to the other piece of important legislation, the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, since you’ll need to be familiar with its requirements as part of your fire risk assessments.
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 covers all safety signage for your building, not just for fire safety. This includes fire exit signs, escape route signs, equipment signs and general fire safety signs, along with their illumination, placement and training in relation to signage.
This all helps to build compliance and protect people. The RRO outlines your duties and who is responsible, while the HSR gives more detail about the signs themselves.
One thing that is not covered, is how many signs you need and which specific ones you need for your building. This is because all buildings are unique, with different sizes, purposes and occupation levels, requiring you to think and plan specifically for your building when it comes to fire safety signs.
What are the fire safety signs?
With so many fire safety signs available in the UK, it can be tricky to define all the individual signs. It’s easier, therefore, to categorise them into four different types:
Fire Action Notice signs
All commercial premises will require this signage, as it displays important information on what action to take in the event of a fire. From assembly point locations to a phone number for the local fire brigade, it’s a detailed, but quick reference, type of sign.
Fire exit, fire door and fire assembly signs
No matter how simple or complex your building may be, these are vital signs to help highlight safe ways out of the building and where to go.
Fire equipment and fire alarm signs
Again, wherever there is a fire alarm and fire fighting equipment, this needs to be labelled and highlighted so that swift action can be taken confidently in an emergency.
Warning and prohibition signs
These signs alert people to hazards and show any activities that are prohibited in order to keep people safe.
You can find examples from across these four categories below for visual reference.
|Fire Safety Sign Type||Fire Safety Sign Colour||Fire Safety Sign Shape||Fire Safety Sign Example|
|Fire Action Notice||Blue, red and green||Rectangular (list)|
|Fire Exit||Green and white||Rectangular|
|Fire Assembly Point||Green and white||Square and rectangular|
|Fire Equipment||Red and white||Square and rectangular|
|Mandatory Action||Blue and white||Circular|
|Prohibited Action||Red, white and black||Circular|
Do I need fire safety signs?
Yes. That’s the simple and honest answer to this question if you are responsible for any commercial building or premises. Fire safety signs form just one aspect of your compliance with your legal obligations.
A fire risk assessment can help you to fully understand and assess fire safety for your specific premises. At Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re leading experts for London and the Home Counties – including Maidenhead, Guildford and Slough – when it comes to conducting fire risk assessments for buildings in any sector.
Contact us today to book your fire risk assessment or to find out more about how we can help you stay fully compliant with fire safety legislation.