Clearly and adequately displaying fire exit and fire door signs is essential for protecting lives and complying with regulations. Here, we discuss the legislation surrounding fire exit and door signs, the different types of signs, and offer expert advice on where they should be placed.
What are the regulations on fire exit and door signs?
Two pieces of legislation concern fire exit and door signs: the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 (HSR), which highlights the need for signs and where they should be placed, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (RRFSO), which requires businesses to appoint a ‘responsible person’ to carry out a risk assessment and ensure fire safety measures, including signs, are assessed, implemented and maintained.
While this may not apply to very small premises (see HSR for clarity), all owners and building managers have a duty of care and must provide clear signage for fire doors and fire exits. With a risk assessment, you can determine the best fire escape route before installing clear and adequate signs to direct people safely through an evacuation. Failing to carry out a risk assessment and provide fire safety signs can lead to serious legal ramifications for your business and you personally.
What are the different types of fire exit and door signs?
There are two types of signs in this category: fire exit signs and fire door signs. Below, we discuss each in more detail;
Fire exit signs
Coloured green, fire exit or fire escape signs demonstrate a safe evacuation point in the event of a fire. In small premises or large single-exit spaces, such as a theatre or lecture hall, a fire exit sign may be enough to clearly direct people.
However, if the route to safety is not immediately obvious, you will need to include clear directional arrows to effectively guide people to the fire escape.
Fire door signs
A fire door is a passive fire safety system, which means it stops the spread of flames and smoke, rather than actively extinguishing fire. They are designed to be kept closed and any gaps should be filled with a fire resistant sealant to maximise effectiveness.
While many businesses utilise automatic fire door closers, which activate when the fire alarm goes off, all fire doors require adequate signage. Fire door signs are blue and display a mandatory action to maintain fire safety. For example, a ‘fire door, keep shut’ sign or ‘automatic fire door’ sign.
Where should fire exit signs be placed?
Fire door signs must be clearly placed on fire doors close to eye level, making them as visible as possible. In addition, fire exit signs should be placed on the shortest route to safety in the event of a fire (determined in a risk assessment). However, if the route involves anything other than a straight exit, you should install directional fire exit signs (arrows) at each point in the escape route where people need to change direction. Given that smoke can quickly cloud people’s vision, these signs must also be adequately designed with high visibility. This can be achieved by using photoluminescent signage or electrically lit signage, providing they are connected to an emergency power source.
Fire exit signs and fire door signs are crucial for protecting lives in the event of a fire and ensuring lawful compliance. Discover our range of fire safety signs and, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us by phone, email or web chat to discuss your business’ fire safety signage needs.
Darren Taylor, managing director of UK Safety Store
With over 30 years' experience in the manufacturing and regulations of safety signs, our managing director Darren prides himself on providing the very best services and insights for all UK Safety Store customers.
Posted: August 10, 2021
Categories: Fire Safety
Author: Darren Taylor