Your Guide To Fire Safety Signs & Regulations
Posted: 25/03/2024
5 minute read
Fire safety signs guide and regulations


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Your Guide To Fire Safety Signs & Regulations

In your everyday life, you might walk past countless fire safety signs without giving them a second thought. That’s because they’re usually only important in an emergency, but without them, you may not know what action to take when that emergency arises.

Given their importance in displaying vital information, we wanted to provide a guide to fire safety signs and the regulations surrounding them. This should help you to understand what each type of sign does and which ones you need for your business.

Fire safety signs guide and regulations

What are the five different types of fire safety signs?

There are five main categories for fire safety signs, each with a slightly different purpose to help match them to different risks and different building types.

Prohibition Fire Signs

These signs highlight the things you should do in certain areas of a building, such as “no smoking” or warnings against using open flames. They are identifiable by red circles with a line crossed through them. These can sometimes be combined with warning signs.

Warning Fire Signs

Warning fire signs

Different from prohibition signs, warning signs are yellow and they are often there to signal a hazard in the area, such as pointing out flammable liquids and gases. They’re traditionally a yellow triangle outlined in black, and as mentioned above, they can be combined with prohibition signs.


Mandatory Fire Signs


Mandatory fire signs - Fire door keep shut

These signs are in place to provide instructions on “mandatory” actions you need to take in regard to fire safety. This includes “fire escape keep clear” and “fire door keep shut”. Mandatory fire signs are traditionally a blue circle in a white box and they also include Fire Action Notice signs, which spell out all the important details of what to do if you discover a fire and are mandatory for all commercial premises.


Fire Exit Signs

Fire exit signs

These are green rectangular signs that highlight which direction you need to follow for the nearest fire exit in an emergency. These can seem like familiar, everyday signs, but they do an important job of guiding people to the nearest exit. You may also see green rectangular signs on fire doors themselves that provide opening instructions. Other, similar signs include assembly point signs, which are green and help provide direction.


Fire Equipment Signs

Fire equipment signs

Since fire safety equipment can help to save lives when used correctly and efficiently, signage that details instructions on the use of items such as extinguishers is also crucial. Not only will these signs highlight which fire types to use the specific extinguisher for, but they will also warn against which fires not to use them on. These are often red squares with a pictorial representation of the item. You’ll often see them for hose reels, alarm call points and riser systems.

Is Fire Signage A Legal Requirement?

Is fire signage a legal requirement?

Yes. It is a legal requirement to have fire signs in place for your building. These should highlight the unique hazards and risks, as well as giving people instructions, directions and guidance. They are vital for saving lives and avoiding panic, but you can also be fined if you are found to not have adequate signage in place. This is true even if there is no fire and you’re simply visited by the local fire brigade, so it’s worth paying attention to.

Read more about our commercial fire safety services to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law.

Fire Signage Regulations

There are two important pieces of legislation you need to be aware of in relation to fire signs. 

The first is the Health & Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations (1996), which provides guidance on the minimum requirements for adequately and clearly signposting against risks and hazards. A big risk when it comes to health and safety is fire, and so this is covered heavily in Part IV “Minimum requirements for the identification and location of fire-fighting equipment”. Also outlined are the colours, shapes and sizes of the various signs required.

The second piece of legislation is, of course, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Under this, you have a legal duty as the owner or responsible person for the building to create a safe environment, which includes the installation of proper fire signage.

There are also numerous British Standards that apply to fire safety signs, including BS 5499 and BS 5378.

Fire signage regulations

At Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re dedicated to helping you protect your business premises and the people within. That’s why we offer a full range of professional services, from fire alarms and fire door installation to fire risk assessments that help you to guard against hazards and put the right protective measures in place. Operating across London and the Home Counties – including Maidenhead, Guildford and Slough – you can count on our BAFE-accredited, experienced team to assist you with everything you need to keep your building safe from fire.

Call today to discuss any of our fire safety services or for advice on what your building needs.


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