Fire Exit Signs

Fire Exit Signs (also known as Fire Escape Signs or an Emergency Exit Sign) clearly indicate the direction of travel to safely exit a building as quickly as possible. They are vital in the event of a fire or other emergency and are required under the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 (HSR) and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (RRFSO). To comply with British standards and safety legislation, each fire exit location must be clearly marked with a Fire Exit Sign. The visibility of such a sign and exit path should also be kept free of all obstructions. Read more below to find out everything you need to know about fire exit signs.

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What is a fire exit sign?

Fire Exit Signs provide essential information around the exit locations of a building. They can help save lives should there be a fire or other emergency on your premises.

Fire Exit Signs are green and white in colour and often contain directional arrows to indicate which direction to proceed. This type of bold and clear signage is paramount in commercial buildings to ensure people can easily see the quickest route to safety.

What are the regulations on fire exit signs?

Both the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 (HSR) and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (RRFSO) apply to fire exit signs. The former highlights the need for fire signage and where it should be placed, while the latter requires businesses to carry out a risk assessment and ensure fire safety measures, including signs, are assessed, implemented and maintained.

How many fire exit signs do I need?

Fire exit signs should be placed in all relevant locations within a property. The quantity required will vary depending on the size and layout of your building. If the given space is very small, then you may only need one fire exit sign above the door if this is the only way out. Alternatively, if you have a more complex space then you will need a greater number of signs to mark each and every change in direction in the route to a fire exit. This covers changes in direction in spots such as corridors and stairs, as well as open spaces if there are multiple options and any chance of confusion. Signs will also need to be placed above all doors and junctions to eliminate ambiguity. As a simple guide - wherever you are in a building - you should be able to clearly see a fire exit sign.

What fire exit signs do I need?

All fire exit signs that lead towards the fire exit, itself, should be directional. This ensures that a person moving within the building is advanced towards the final exit. The signs should identify the primary escape route which is normally the shortest distance to a place of safety. The only fire exit sign that doesn’t require directional arrows, is the final sign above the door and access out, which must state ‘Exit’ or ‘Fire Exit’. These signs are of utmost importance and should take precedence over all other signs.

Different types of fire exit signs should be avoided as this can cause confusion to people using them. For example, British standards and European standards should not be mixed. Below are the commonly used British Standards options:

Where should fire exit signs be positioned?

Fire exit signs can be positioned on walls, suspended from ceilings, and fixed above doors - depending on where they are needed and the best way to make them completely visible to people using them. Fire exit signs above doors or open spaces are ideally fitted between 1.8m to 2.5m in height so that they are visible at all times. If you need to put the fire exit signs higher, then you may need to select bigger signs to ensure they can still be seen. Fire exit signs should be fitted as close to the centre line of the escape route as possible For example, above the door in the centre. It’s important to note, signs should not be fitted onto doors or where they could not be seen if the door is opened. For more information please also refer to our separate guide on where to fit fire exit signs.

What colour are fire exit signs?

Fire exit signs are either green, blue or a combination. Green fire signage indicates a fire exit or evacuation route while blue fire signage shows mandatory actions that must be taken to maintain fire safety.

What size fire exit signs do I need?

The following is a guide to the recommended sign sizes to use for your room space:

  • For rooms with a smaller distance than 14m: 300mm x 100mm sized fire exit signs
  • For rooms with a distance between 14m and 22m: 400mm x 150mm sized fire exit signs
  • For rooms with the distance over 31m: 600mm x 200mm sized fire exit signs
  • If the viewing distance is over 47m, you will need bigger fire exit signs, which are usually 900mm x 300mm

Learn more about fire exit signs

We have a dedicated resource hub filled with useful information about the regulations, requirements and types of fire signage. Read our guide to fire exit signs and discover more about fire safety signs on our dedicated fire safety resource hub.