All businesses must display fire safety signs by law. Our quick guide will get you started.

The important thing to know is that every business premises will need to display fire safety signs. The most familiar are fire exit signs, but others are governed by two pieces of legislation: the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order – known as the RRO, and the main law that combines fire safety laws together.

In the UK, you need four types of fire safety sign in your business.

1) A fire action notice which tells people what to do in the event of a fire

These are pre-printed with important information, such as exit routes, fire brigade contact numbers, assembly points and so forth. There are different types available, so you will need to select the one that best suits your particular premises. This should be displayed next to each fire alarm call point, as well as each exit door.

2) Directional safety signage pointing to fire doors, assembly points and exit routes

You may not need this if your premises are small and obviously laid out – for example, a small retail premises with a single door at the front. You must have a ‘Fire Door, Keep Shut’ sign on each fire exit door, and you may need to have opening instructions too, depending on the type of door.

3) Safety signs that show where fire extinguishers are located

These signs allow users to quickly find the right fire extinguisher and other equipment to tackle a fire. 95% of fires tackled with the right extinguisher can be put out in just two minutes.

4) Prohibition and warnings signs

Usually bearing notices such as ‘no smoking’, or ‘danger’, for example. These are usually triangular, with yellow and black print. Fire related signs are made from photo-luminescent materials, so that they are visible in a fire, especially if overhead lighting fails.

You will need to make an assessment on where your signs should go according to the layout of your premises, the nature of your business, the fire-fighting equipment you need to have and other factors. This will be guided by your Fire Risk Assessment.

There are other types of specialist signage that are also needed in business premises and businesses need to stay on top of changing legislation. It can be well worth using the services of a health and safety provider to get help in this field and to ensure you are fully compliant.

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