Fire Extinguisher Signs

Fire Extinguisher SignsYou may have the best quality, shiniest fire extinguishers in your business premises, but they will only be effective if your staff can find them when they need them most! Fire safety equipment signs are a vital part of your fire safety provision for your office, factory, warehouse, hotel, shop, or outdoor site.

Fire Safety Signs: What the Law Says

Health and Safety regulations require all owners of premises to use safety signs, quote, “Where there is a significant risk to health and safety that has not been avoided or controlled by the methods required under other relevant law, provided the use of a sign can help reduce the risk.”

All signs also need to conform to the British Standard Code of Practice for safety signs (BS 5499-10:2006)

Seeing Red: Fire Extinguisher Safety Signs

All fire equipment signs feature a red background with white graphics. These familiar red signs indicate where you and your colleagues can find fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment, such as fire hoses or breathing apparatus.

 Fire extinguisher signs often combine vital information for users on one easy-to read sign. For example, a combination sign might include:

  • a red fire equipment sign for an extinguisher at the top
  • a blue information sign detailing the extinguisher type
  • green information symbols indicating the types of fire the extinguisher can be used on

So, your fire extinguisher sign can be a ‘one-stop shop’ of vital information in an emergency. Now you need to ensure everyone can see it!

Fire Safety Sign Placement

Placing your signs in the right places can give you staff vital extra seconds in an emergency. Make sure that every fire extinguisher has an appropriate sign not just at extinguisher level, but at eye level as well. Remember that not everyone is the same height, so eye level for some is sky level for others! Also consider the needs of any disabled members of staff, whose eye-line may be different again.

Always place your fire extinguishers where they can easily be accessed, and their associated fire safety sign can be seen at all times, so don’t site them behind a door or near a coat rack, for example.

If you have new premises or are renovating your old offices, your local Fire Officer or a professional fire risk assessor will be happy to help with advice on correct and effective placement.

Fire Extinguisher Stands and Signs

Despite modern advances in technology, fire extinguishers are still heavy items. Modern office partition walls and old brick walls in older premises may not be robust enough to support the weight of an extinguisher mounted on the wall. A better option is a fire extinguisher stand , which also protects your fire extinguishers from accidental knocks.

These red, grey or cream rigid plastic floor stands give your extinguishers a safe and sturdy home, and protect your carpets too! For external use, tough steel frame Fire Point stands are also available.

Walking Fire Extinguishers: Do They Exist?

From the number of times office fire extinguishers seem to move from their original positions to prop open doors, etc, you might be forgiven for thinking they had legs! Fire extinguisher signs can help you instantly identify any gaps, as some designs feature a “Missing” graphic.

Simply place your extinguisher in front of the graphic, and if the extinguisher is subsequently moved, you’ll see “Missing” in large letters.

UK Fire Safety Regulations

New fire safety regulations were recently passed that affect all workplaces in England and Wales. While many workplaces have the basic precautions in place, there are many that don’t. Once you know the basics, such as how to assess the risk and what fundamental safety measures are required, fire safety is not a difficult topic, and the new fire safety regulations will be easy to implement.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, as it is known (or RRO), is designed to turn almost all the earlier pieces of UK fire safety legislation into one all-inclusive law.

Here is a short précis of the important parts of the Order that concern all those who run a business or institution situated in a building, based on key words used and their meanings:

  • Responsible Person: the person who owns or controls the business or premises
  • Competent Person: this could be an employee or an outside contractor appointed and trained to carry out fire fighting duties, contact the emergency services, and assist in evacuations
  • Enforcement: failing to satisfy the applicable articles of the Order may result in a fine or up to two years imprisonment
  • Fire Risk Assessment: if the responsible person employs 5 or more people, or if the premises are licensed, or if the inspector wants it, this vital plank of the Order must be officially documented


The Fire Safety Order applies to all buildings in use, except domestic premises and some kinds of premises that are a specific risk and where other regulations apply. It also places duties on a ‘responsible person’ not only to protect employees but members of the public.

Don’t forget that every building is going to be different – different fire hazards in different places affecting different people.

Fire Risk Assessment

The Law requires that Risk Assessment be done, consistent with most of the new regulations regarding health and safety. It is important to consider how a fire would affect the people in the building, starting with those immediately at risk from the fire.

The outcomes of the Risk Assessments must be presented in writing where five or more people are employed, in line with many other regulations.

Fire Prevention

One of the reasons for Fire Risk Assessment is to lessen the chances of fire occurring. A fire prevention plan should be easy to put together and should be a matter of common sense for most workplaces.

Some measures to consider include making sure rubbish is not stored near the premises, and ensuring that the electrical wiring is tested and inspected frequently.

Fire Precautions

There are a number of general fire precautions required by the regulations but it is important to remember that every workplace is different and every work location has different needs. What works in one building might not work elsewhere.

The most important fire safety regulations to consider include:

  • A whistle or an electric fire alarm, or some other kind of fire warning
  • Automatic fire detectors might be needed in some buildings, especially if a fire could be a risk to people if it is not detected (such as a two-story building) or there are large numbers of people in the building
  • There must be fire extinguishers in the building, not only to maintain exits while people evacuate but also to control small fires
  • There must be enough fire exits in the building for the numbers of people who use it and exits must lead as directly to safety as possible
  • Exits must be clearly marked with exit signs and they must be kept clear and readily available
  • Fire exit routes might need to be protected so that the smoke and flames won’t affect people evacuating the building
  • Emergency lighting might be needed in some situations to light exit routes and rooms in the event of a power failure
  • Fire equipment must be maintained and looked after, so that they are in working order
  • There must be a fire procedure for the building, outlining people’s responsibilities and the evacuation plan in case of fire

Fire Safety Training

Yes, It Is a Legal Requirement! Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, as the owner or occupier of non-domestic premises, you are the ‘responsible person’ who must arrange staff training, fire drills and evacuation procedures and policies for your staff and visitors.

Why Invest in Quality Fire Safety Training?

As a business owner, you have probably already invested heavily in fire safety equipment for your premises. Yet all that investment will effectively go to waste if your staff does not know how to use fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, as they may well be the first person to discover a fire.

What Your Staff Need to Know about Fire Safety

The occasional fire drill and some faded escape notices are no longer acceptable to fulfill your legal obligations under the Fire Safety Order. Your staff needs to be aware of:

  • your business fire safety policy, and who to contact when in the case of an emergency
  • your fire safety and evacuation procedures; when and how to act if they discover a fire
  • the fire safety equipment used on your premises, and how to operate them if required
  • the fire safety signs, what they mean, and how to act accordingly
  • The Best Fire Safety Training Delivery Method

Fire safety training could help save both lives and property, but only if it is delivered properly and in such a way that staff engage and learn the important information effectively.

Fire safety manuals can be dull and hard to read, and many people find it tricky to understand how to use fire safety equipment from a drawing or series of diagrams. In addition, you or your competent person can never be 100% sure the information has been fully read and absorbed!

Offsite or Onsite fire safety training gives your staff the opportunity to focus solely on fire training, but it can be costly both in terms of the fees charged by external companies and the time taken to deliver training to all staff.

Online courses in fire safety training are a useful aid for staff that like to learn in their own time and at their own pace, but again you as the business owner, cannot be sure the information has been fully absorbed and understood.

Fire Safety Training DVDs and CD-ROMS

One of the best ways to ensure training is delivered in a consistent way across your entire business is to use DVD or CD-rom training courses. By dividing your staff into small groups, your personnel can learn together in a structured way, without the need to remove large numbers of staff from the workplace at one time, as with outside raining.

They can learn from top experts featured on the DVDs, and actually see how to operate fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, rather than learn from diagrams. And, of course, if anyone needs a recap, you simply play the DVD segment again!

Unlike paper manuals that can become out of date and forgotten on a shelf, a DVD training course can be renewed on a subscription basis each year, to give your staff the most up to date training information available. It is also useful for refreshing your staff fire training on a regular basis, by revising individual modules rather than the whole course.

Fire safety training is the essential element that will keep your business and staff safe when combined with the right fire safety equipment; one without the other is as good as useless.