Red is used to denote danger and they indicate the location of fire equipment in an emergency situation. These signs are installed to instantly show occupants of a commercial or publically accessed building the location of fire equipment, such asfire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire hoses and emergency stop buttons.
The provision of Fire Safety Signs must be considered as part of a Fire Risk Assessment; and this is where a statement in the 'Mythbuster' suggesting; 'call point ID signs are not mandatory' is misleading.
Customers looked immediately for guidance and re-assurance on what to do, the trained fire wardens had taken up their appointed duties on each floor, marshalling and guiding people to the emergency exits. Fortunately, Ashleigh’s company had invested in their fire protection, with properly maintained fire detection, alarm and protection equipment to regular training for staff. What really helped people escape the building was the ample, well positioned fire exit signs and fire action notices. Immediately, the general public were able to see the actions that they should take and the routes they should use, because the correctly located signs, which displayed, in written and pictogram form, exactly what someone, unfamiliar with their surroundings, needed to do in the event of an incident.
A while later, Ashleigh could reflect that the only figures that mattered that day were not the sales figures, but the number of people whose lives had potentially been saved by the sound investment in fire protection.
So, what can we learn from such incidents, false or real, like these?
- Fire safety signage is essential to assist people escape from an emergency incident, with re-assurance throughout the route with continued directional signs.
- Fire safety signage is particularly important to guide people unfamiliar with the environment, although in the event of an emergency, those who are normally familiar with the environment may become disorientated and confused. This can of course include the emergency services that may need to enter a building after you have evacuated.
- Fire Safety signage will indicate the location of fire safety and fire-fighting equipment such as fire alarm call points and fire extinguishers.
- Fire Safety signage provides clear instructions for mandatory requirements such as ‘fire door keep shut’.
- Fire safety signage should be professionally installed by a competent person who is conversant with regulatory requirements, and with due regard to the layout and risks associated with the premises.
- Although there are standard requirements for some signage, fire exit signage is site specific, as no two layouts are the same.
- Building occupants should be able to view an emergency exit sign from wherever they are in a building.
- Point of sale materials should not obscure any emergency exit signage.
- The use of hanging or floor mounted signs may be required alongside conventional wall mounted signs.
- When looking at sign installation, try to envisage yourself as someone unfamiliar to the site. Displays can block the view of emergency exits, and whilst staff will know where their nearest exits are, the general public will not.
- Always take due regard of the panic effect, no one truly knows how they will react to an incident until it occurs, and such an incident will immediately change people’s behaviours.
Fire safety signage forms part of the overall fire protection, and is essential to the safety of you, your employees, your organisation and its customers.