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Last updated: 15.07.19

A guide to fire safety signs in the workplace

A guide to fire safety signs in the workplace

Each workplace should have an established fire safety plan which every staff member is made aware of. As part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a number of different fire safety signs should be utilised on-site to provide the following:

  • Information on emergency exits and escape routes
  • Visual markers for where firefighting equipment is
  • Practical ways of raising the alarm

All fire safety signs fall into one of four main categories, each with a distinctive colour associated with their respective area of fire safety.

Types of fire safety signs

Location of firefighting equipment - Red

Red signs signify the location of firefighting equipment, allow for easy identification in an emergency. This includes fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire hoses and fire buckets. These signs may also carry additional information about the correct usage of the respective firefighting equipment, such as prohibited methods of operation.

Location of evacuation routes - Green

Green signs convey the location of doors, exits and escape routes used for emergency escapes. Some of these will be backlit to allow for better visibility in the dark and ensure people can find escape routes in almost any conditions. 

Location of potential hazards - yellow

Yellow signs indicate a dangerous substance in the vicinity which you should be cautious of. These will typically carry the words ‘Danger’ or ‘Caution’ to reinforce their importance, as the substances can cause major damage if improperly handled.

Relevant safety information - Blue

Blue signs provide notice of instructions relating to fire safety, including what to do in the event of a fire. Sometimes called ‘Fire Action Notices’, they provide vital information of what to do in the event of a fire, including colour coded instructions of where to do and what to look for. Normally, blank spaces are left on these signs to allow workplaces to write bespoke locations for assembly points and who to report things to.

Prohibition signs – White with red

Prohibition signs are made up of a white sign with a red circle and diagonal line, creating the classic ‘Do Not’ symbol over an image. The most common one of these signs you’ll have seen in the ‘No Smoking’ sign, which will be especially prominent in areas where there are flammable materials nearby. As mentioned in the Fire Action Notices, you will see prohibition notices when outlining what not to do in the event of a fire.

Fire Safety FAQs

What does fire safety mean?

Fire safety is a set of procedures which aim to reduce the amount of damage and injuries caused by fires. These include risk assessments to help identify and reduce areas of fire risk, and formulate an emergency and evacuation plan in the event that a fire does break out.

What does the fire alarm sign indicate?

Fire alarm signs give a clearly visible indication of where the nearest fire alarm is and will usually be located near fire emergency equipment.

What information do fire safety signs give?

Fire safety signs give a range of information via clear graphics, from prohibition signs around smoking to fire action signs giving instructions on what to do in the event of a fire.

Click here to view our full range of Fire Safety FAQs

Virtual College’s e-learning Fire Safety Training course can help give further information around fire safety signs and more. The interactive course covers modules on the ‘Fire Triangle, legal requirements regarding fire safety, types of firefighting equipment and more, helping your staff to become more aware of fire safety and assist employers with internal fire safety training.


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