Fire Action Notices
Fire Action Notice signs have been devised to tell people what to do in the event of a fire. According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all occupants of a commercial building must be provided with access to fire safety instructions. This information should include:
- How to sound the alarm
- How to contact the fire brigade
- Assembly point information
- Information specifically for staff
- And any information uniquely relevant to your premises
Ideally, you should display a Fire Action Notice by every fire alarm, in every high-risk area, and by all external exits.
Fire Exit Wayfinding
If a fire should break out, it is imperative that all building occupants can easily find their nearest exit. Fire exit wayfinding signs are the best way to both ensure the safety of the people under your care and answer your legal obligations. So, the wayfinding signs can be broken down into three subcategories.
- Fire exit routes – If you work in a small, open-plan office with only one entrance, and the way out is obvious, then you are not legally obliged to signpost your fire exit route. But where you have a more complicated layout, then fire exit signage becomes essential. And it’s here that you need the green and white directional signs.
- Fire doors – Fire exit doors vary from building to building. All should be marked. Some require instructions – ‘Push bar to open’ for example. And all must be adorned with a ‘Fire door, keep shut’ sign.
- Assembly points – The assembly points for your building should be clearly identifiable, with green and white signage. They should also be categorised. So, if you have more than one assembly point, they should be demarked as point A, B, C, etc. Additionally, you may need to think about the types of people who will be using your building. And ensure that you have a suitable gathering place, away from debris and firefighting equipment, for the less mobile – wheelchair users, as well as the elderly and the very young.
Fire Equipment Signs
In our previous posts, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of fire extinguishers. But fire extinguishers are only of benefit if people know what they are and how to use them. And the same can be said for all other firefighting equipment.
From fire alarms and fire blankets to fire hoses. So, it’s really important that you have the right signage in place, next to every piece of firefighting equipment on site. And this is particularly crucial when it comes to fire extinguishers, as incorrect use can be more dangerous than not using one at all.
Cautionary Notices Signs
If something has the potential to cause fire, or be particularly dangerous in the event of fire, then you need to deploy cautionary notices. These fall into two categories:
- Warning signs – Fire safety warning signs are usually bright yellow with black writing. And they are to be deployed in situations where flammable materials may be present. For example, types of gas, or flammable liquids, such as paints or cooking oils. Their purpose is to alert occupants to the potential for danger, and to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken.
- Prohibition fire safety signs – As the name suggests, prohibition fire safety signs indicate where a particular behaviour is not allowed upon your premises. These signs are usually white with a red prohibition symbol and black writing or pictograms. Most of us will be familiar with this style of warning from the common ‘no smoking’ signs.
- Combination signs – In some locations, signs that combine both warning and prohibition notices are better deployed. For example, ‘Danger: Highly flammable materials. No smoking. No naked flames.’
What fire safety and fire exit signs do you need for your business?
Of course, every business is different. And not all businesses will need all types of fire signage. So, which signs do you need?
Mandatory for all businesses:
- Fire Action Notices must be present in all business premises, regardless of type or size.
- Fire equipment signs. You are legally obliged to have at least one fire extinguisher on your premises. So, it follows that you must also have a fire extinguisher identification and instruction sign. The same applies for any other firefighting equipment you have on site, such as a dry riser or fire blanket.
Mandatory for some businesses:
- Fire alarm call points. Not all businesses will have a fire alarm. But if you do, you must have the appropriate signage to accompany it.
- Fire exit signs. If your business has very small premises with a single exit, you will not need a fire exit sign. For all other business property types, fire exit signs are mandatory.
- Warning signs are essential if you have potentially hazardous materials within your business.
- And again, most businesses with potentially hazardous materials on their premises will require prohibition signs.
Understanding the tools and guidance relating to fire safety is imperative if you wish to provide your business and the people within it with as much protection as possible. And fire signage is part of that. If you’re not sure which fire safety and fire exit signs your business requires, conducting a fire risk assessment can help. And you can find out everything you need to know about workplace fire protection and prevention in our advice pages.