Understanding Fire Signage

Choosing your fire signage can be a daunting task. What exactly do you need? Where do you have to install them? Will you be compliant with BS EN ISO 7010? What happens if you get it wrong?

In the UK between 2010 and 2014, there were 97,500 fires in commercial premises, with 1,881 fatalities over the same period. It is essential to have clearly marked routes to exits and fire fighting equipment as this will help to limit the risk of loss of life.

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Where do you place signs on the escape route?

The first step to determining your escape route is to find your primary escape route. This should be the shortest and quickest route out of the building from any given location. It is also essential to plan a secondary escape route, in the event of a fire makes the primary route impassable.

Determining the signage for your fire escape route is confusing, however, it can be simplified with a few simple guidelines;

  • Within your building, an escape sign should always be visible
  • Once past the first fire escape sign, the next escape sign along the route must be clearly seen
  • Further signage is required at every change of direction along the escape route
  • A fire exit sign must be above all final fire exit doors
  • Ensure there are no conflicting signs along the route e.g. 2 arrow up signs back to back.

Fire Exit signs and where to use them?

Fire exit signs with left and right arrows:

Fire exit signs with left and right arrows are self-explanatory. If you see an arrow pointing to the left, what that is essentially saying is that you should “Progress to the left”. If you see an arrow pointing to the right, it is telling you that you should “Progress to the right”.

Where some of the confusion starts to come in around fire safety signs, is with the up and the down arrow.

Fire exit signs with up arrows:

Fire exit sign with arrow up

Fire Exit Arrow Up is to be used when you have to continue along your route, towards another fire exit sign. It can also be used for final exits. The only exception to this is if there is a step-down or ramp immediately outside.

Fire exist signs with down arrows:

Fire exit sign with arrow down

Fire Exit Arrow Down signs are to be used when you have to continue along your route, towards another fire exit sign. If after an exit sign there is a staircase leading down immediately after your sign, then a down arrow is required.

What size sign do I need?

One of the most important things to consider when ordering a fire exit sign is the size. The size that you need is based on the maximum distance that the size needs to be viewed from.

Below is a guide to the sizes that you will need based on the distance in meters.

  • 300mm x 100mm KD – Viewing distance up to 10 meters
  • 450mm x 150mm NF – Viewing distance up to 15 meters
  • 600mm x 200mm RG – Viewing distance up to 20 meters
  • 1200mm x 400mm – Viewing distance up to 40 meters
  • For illuminated signs the viewing distance doubles

When does photoluminescent help?

Photoluminescent signs provide additional reliability. In the event of a power failure, they offer a constant source of illumination and invaluable guidance.

Additional fire signage you’ll also need

So now you have your escape routes clearly marked you’re done, yes? Not quite. People often overlook other aspects of fire safety.

Some of the key areas they overlook are:

Making sure that you have these clearly marked out is key to making sure that your building is as safe as possible for everyone inside.

If you have a large complex project and require any additional information, our expert site survey team are happy to visit your premises to help.

Our sales team can be contacted on 01737 774072 for free advice, or alternatively, you can email.