Fire Action Notices Conveying Evacuation Procedures Effectively

Fire action notices can contain several texts which are in common use but may not be appropriate for all circumstances but there are certain messages that should be included. There are four significant areas that need to be addressed.

1.       Raising the Alarm.

This should advise of the most appropriate method of action whether this be by operating the nearest fire alarm call point, calling 999, verbally or by any other alarm procedure used in there evacuation procedure.

2.      Fire Brigade.

The fire brigade is often called automatically through the alarm system, however it may be necessary to call the fire brigade manually. Your Fire Action notice may also give additional information which you would be required to pass on to the operator, such as telephone number and exact location details.

3.       Assembly Point

A blank space is provided for details of the nearest assembly point. An assembly point is usually a static safe area marked with the appropriate signage. For premises that have no clear area to use as a regular assembly point mobile extendable fire assembly point signs can be used to guide occupants to the designated safe area.

4.       Additional Instruction

It is customary to include further instructions such as “do not stop to collect personal belongings” or “ do not return to the building for any reason until authorised to do so”.

More specific information can be included for example there can be precise instructions in buildings which have lifts, or for houses that have multiple occupancy.

Where should you display your fire action notices?

Best practice suggests fire action notices should be displayed next to every fire alarm call point and next to the final fire exits. This gives the relevant information at a glance to the person raising the alarm and any further action that maybe required.

There are two distinct styles of fire action notice, one the traditional blue and red sign with written instructions and the other incorporating graphic symbols in line with BS EN ISO 7010. Both of which meet current legislation however the graphic symbol version is growing in popularity due to the effectiveness of relaying information quickly through symbols which would be critical in an evacuation situation.

Please read our post “Where to Position Fire Signs” for more information and advice on where to display fire safety signs for maximum visibility.

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BS EN ISO7010 – Official Advice from the HSSA

One of the major legislative changes affecting the workplace in recent times is the adoption of BS EN ISO7010. While it isn’t yet a requirement to change all your existing safety signs to the new ISO 7010 versions, the advice is not to mix signage from different legislative standards. Best practice recommends, if changes or additions are needed, update your signs to the most recent standard. However it is always good to include safety signs in your general safety audit and incorporate them as part of your continuous improvement plan with a view to bringing them up to date as soon as possible. In fact The Health and Safety Sign Association offer the following advice regarding conformance to BS EN ISO 7010 and compliance to the Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations.

“The new changes required to conform to BS EN ISO 7010 have been adopted specifically to ensure improved intuitive comprehension of the safety message.

The legislation requires that a formal risk assessment be carried out and this will determine the need for safety signs to locate and identify lifesaving equipment, escape routes and first aid equipment.

The Health and Safety Sign Association recommend that an audit and review should be carried out to determine the residual risk associated with using a safety sign of poor non-conforming design. It is a recommendation that a plan is drawn up for their replacement. This plan will prioritise the replacement of those signs that are poorly designed and that comprehension credential have not been proven under BS ISO 9186.”

If you are unsure of your safety sign obligations contact a reputable signage company, they will be able to offer you up to date advice and may also be able to provide you a full site survey.