Types of
Fire Safety Signs

This guide to types of fire safety signs makes clear why they are an essential element of fire protection that provides users with important information.

Standardisation of signs: Ensuring Safety and Compliance

In today’s fast-paced world, standardisation of safety signage plays a vital role in promoting consistency and international safety standards. One such standard, BS EN ISO 7010:2020+A3:2022, aims to bring about international uniformity in safety signage. In this article, we will explore the importance of fire safety signage regulations, effective use of mandatory signs, ensuring safe conditions in the workplace, and how clear signage can enhance workplace safety.

Effective Use of Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs play a crucial role in indicating actions that must be followed to comply with statutory requirements. Although the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 do not explicitly cover mandatory fire instructions, they become mandatory through inclusion in most fire risk assessments. Nevertheless, the regulations do apply to health and safety mandatory signs that require the use of pictograms.

Fire action notices, inform building occupants about the actions they must take in the event of a fire. These notices typically consist of white text on a blue background, often in a circular format. The distinct blue and white colours emphasise the mandatory nature of the instructions. Additionally, a general-purpose mandatory sign, featuring a white exclamation mark on a blue circle, is commonly positioned next to a fire action notice.

Fire Door Keep Shut

Safe condition signs:Guiding Individuals to Safety

Creating and maintaining safe conditions in the workplace is paramount to protecting employees and visitors. Safe condition signs, depicted in a green rectangular form with white pictograms and text are designed to help individuals locate the nearest fire and emergency exits, escape routes, and essential safety equipment such as first aid kits. Compliance with Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, current British Standards, and the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act are essential when implementing safe condition signs.

Fire escape signs guide individuals through a building from any location within a building to a place of relative safety, commonly referred to as the escape route, and ultimately to the assembly area where they can find fresh air and safety. While fire escape signs are not required on the main routes into or out of a building, alternative and complex escape routes must be clearly signed ensuring that occupants have clear directions in case of emergencies. Additionally, clear signage directing individuals to the assembly area is necessary, as it cannot be assumed that everyone will know the way once outside the building.

Fire Exit sign

Firefighting signs: Identifying Essential Safety Equipment

To enhance workplace safety, it is imperative to ensure that safety equipment and emergency procedures are clearly indicated. Firefighting signs, often red with white writing and pictograms, indicate the location of firefighting equipment and fire alarm activation points. Identifying and familiarising individuals with firefighting equipment is essential for their prompt and effective response to fires.

In the event of a fire, it is imperative for occupants to know where firefighting equipment is located and which equipment is suitable for specific types of fires. Fire extinguisher ID signs come in various formats, from wall-mounted signs to those attached to extinguisher stands. Additionally, fire safety signs for equipment like hose reels and dry risers may be necessary if they are present on the premises.

Clear signposting of fire alarm call points is of utmost importance so that occupants can easily raise the alarm if they detect a fire. Each call point should have a sign, and including Fire Action Notices in these areas ensures that individuals have all the necessary information to act accordingly.

Fire Alarm Call Point sign

Warning signs: Heightening Awareness of Hazards

Warning signs play a crucial role in alerting individuals to nearby dangers. These signs, required by the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, consist of a yellow background with a black equilateral triangle and a pictogram indicating the specific hazard. Complying with the Dangerous Substances (Notification and Marking of Sites) Regulations 1990 is also essential in specific cases.

Raising awareness of potential hazards through warning signs helps individuals exercise caution and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents and injuries. Organisations should ensure the proper placement and visibility of warning signs to maximise their effectiveness. Warning signs depicting a particular hazard are characterised by a black band in the shape of an equilateral triangle. The background within the band is yellow, and the centrally positioned pictogram indicates the type of hazard.

Warning Flammable Liquid sign

Prohibition Signs: Restricting Dangerous Actions

Prohibition signs are circular red signs with crossbars, indicating actions that are prohibited due to their potentially dangerous nature. For example, in the context of fire risks, a prohibition sign may indicate that smoking is not allowed in specific areas. Educating employees about prohibition signs and their relevance to their duties within the organisation is vital for maintaining a safe and compliant environment.

No Smoking sign

Supplementary Signs: Enhancing Directional Guidance

Supplementary signs, such as directional arrows in green, red, and yellow, provide additional information about safety exits and fire safety equipment. Standardising escape route signs with directional arrows ensures intuitive and efficient egress during emergencies. Priority should be given to the shortest and safest routes when designing escape route signs.

While incorporating supplementary signs, it is important to consider the impact on emergency lighting. Attaching plastic signs to emergency lights can diminish the illumination provided by the escape lights. As escape lights already emit low light levels, it is crucial to maintain their effectiveness by avoiding additional obstructions.

Directional Arrows


Remember, safety should always be the top priority in every setting.

Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance on fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment.  It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.

Fire Risk Consultancy Services have the knowledge and experience to assist your business to comply with all legal requirements surrounding fire safety including legislation. Be sure to read our accompanying guides: Fire Alarm System Types, Fire Extinguishers, Emergency Lighting, and Fire Door Regulations, also published on this site. 

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