Signs must be used, where necessary, to help people identify escape routes, find firefighting equipment and emergency fire telephones. These signs are required under the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 199656 and must comply with the provisions of those Regulations.

A fire risk assessment, which determines that no escape signs are required (because, for example, trained staff will always be available to help members of the public to escape routes), is unlikely to be acceptable to an enforcing authority other than for the smallest and simplest of premises where the exits are in regular use and familiar to employees and visitors.

For a sign to comply with these Regulations it must be in pictogram form .The pictogram can be supplemented by text if this is considered necessary to make the sign more easily understood, but you must not have a safety sign that uses only text.

Signs are not necessary where the locations of escape routes and firefighting equipment are readily apparent and the firefighting equipment is visible at all times, then signs are not necessary. In all other situations it is likely that the fire risk assessment will indicate that signs will be necessary.


Notices must be used, where necessary, to provide the following:

  • Instructions on how to use any fire safety equipment;
  • The actions to be taken in the event of fire
  • Help for the fire and rescue service (e.g. location of sprinkler valves or electrical cut-off switches).
  • All signs and notices should be positioned so that they can be easily seen and understood.