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Fire Escape Signs

Legislation requires the Duty Holder (in a workplace, normally the employer) to carry out a formal risk assessment to determine the need for fire safety signs.

The requirements for the characteristics of fire safety signs and notices are encompassed within the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 and the guidance in relevant British Standards.


FIRE EXIT AND ESCAPE ROUTE SIGNS


The legislation requires all duty holders to ensure that the means of escape is effectively located and the route to a place of relative safety be clearly identified. Where the building manager, facilities manager/duty holder requires specific guidance to achieve this, a competent person should be consulted. Guidance on the application and siting of means of escape signs is given in BS 5499 Part 4.

The following key elements of escape route signing will influence effective evacuation:

Illumination: All escape route signs should be adequately illuminated to ensure they are

conspicuous and legible within the environment. All escape route signs should be visible under power loss conditions. It may be appropriate in some premises that a maintained light source is provided or the same objective can be achieved with a photoluminescent escape route sign.


Sign Height (Graphical Symbol Height): All escape route signs are required to be observed from a distance, this distance alongside the illumination will determine the observation distance of the escape route sign. Full guidance can be found in BS 5499 Part 4. However, a simple guide for an externally illuminated sign at 100 lux will give an observation

distance of 17 metres for a sign height of 100mm a ratio of 170 to 1.



Direction of Egress and Escape: From any point within a building it is important that people have immediate sight of an escape route. If they do not or doubt may exist, an escape route sign or series of signs is likely to be necessary. The use of directional arrows within escape route signs are standardised to ensure that egress is intuitive and efficient. Priority for

escape route signs should be given to the shortest route to safety.


BS5499-4 Directional meaning of escape route sign(s)


Progress forward from here (indicating direction of travel)

Progress forward and through from here; when sign is sited above a door (indicating direction of travel)

Progress forward and up from here (indicating change of level)


Progress down from here (indicating change of level)





Progress to the left from here (indicating direction of travel)





Progress to the right from here (indicating direction of travel)





Progress down to the left (indicating change of level)





Progress down to the right (indicating change of level)




Progress up to the left (indicating change of level)

Progress forward and across to the left from here when suspended within an open area



Progress up to the right (indicating change of level) Progress forward and across

to the right from here when suspended within an open area


The series of escape route signs within the designated means of escape should be positioned to progress the person to a place of safety. An escape route sign should be positioned at every change of direction, every change of level and at any decision

point within the escape route.


Mounting Height: Escape route signs should be sited at 2.0m from the floor when positioned above doors or where suspended from the ceiling and at 1.7m from the floor when positioned on walls. As people progress along an escape route, the next escape route sign within the series should be in a predictable position following on from its predecessor in the series of escape route signs.


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