Setting Up Fire Safety Sign Regulations

Nancy B. Alston

It is common to see several types of safety signs in different industrial workplaces. There are laboratory, chemical, and electricity safety signs-all are pertaining to any visual alerting device and providing initial warning for a potential hazard. However, the most popular are fire safety signs.

Notwithstanding the popularity and the regulations set forth by local fire departments and public planners, some people do not realize the importance of these symbols. Although public safety should be the top priority at all times, some individuals, employers, and building owners tend to ignore what the signs can do in certain emergencies like fire.

Because fire accidents can happen at any time, in any place, safety signs must be posted. They must be clearly visible for all to see. They must be placed correctly on designated areas such as emergency exits, fire extinguisher glass, first aid cabinets, and fire hose glass. This way, the signs can give information regarding the location of safety equipments and emergency facilities and give guidance to the alternative escape route in an emergency.

Moreover, the signs can communicate instructions such as “fire lane keep clear at all times,” “incase of fire do not use elevators,” and “keep this fire door free of obstructions”. Other than that, they communicate warning on hazards like “flammable” and “high voltage”.

There are two main types of fire safety signs: one, picture signs or a combination of both text and symbols; and two, signs with text only messages. Both of them, however, are supplemented by the use of standard colors and shapes.

On the other hand, specific colors are used to signify and convey a message. It is also important that you are aware of the significance of each, to make you decide and act as quickly as possible for your safety.

Red means danger and it signals an immediate hazard that can result in serious injury or death. Orange means warning and it signals a potential hazard that could result in injury or death. Yellow means caution and it warns of a potential hazard that could cause a minor injury. Lastly, Green means information and it is used for safety equipment identification like first aid kits and other emergency necessities.

You also need to consider other regulations, whether you are an employee, employer, or the building owner.

First, you must be aware of the uses and the meanings of each sign. If you are the employer or the owner, it is necessary that you provide appropriate trainings and/or drills to all the employees or occupants in your building to make them aware and knowledgeable of different emergency procedures and the use of different fire protection equipment.

Next, you must also ensure that the safety signs are of a specified type-pictogram or all-text, and that they are all legible and easily understood. However, you have to abide with the guidelines set by your local officials regarding appropriate type, colors, shapes and illumination of signage. Lastly, it is your responsibility to ensure proper maintenance, not just of fire safety signs but also, all your fire safety equipments. These are essential to reduce the risk and prevent any danger that can be caused by fire.

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