The Significance of Escape Signs in Fire Safety

Fire Exit Sign

When it comes to fire safety, the importance of having clear and visible escape signs cannot be overstated. For anyone in a building, from employees to visitors, these signs play a pivotal role in guiding them to safety during emergencies. Let’s delve into the essential aspects of escape signs, drawing insights from the UK government’s guidelines.

Why are Escape Signs Crucial?

  1. Guidance in Premises: In simpler buildings, indicating alternative exits might be the primary focus. However, for larger and more intricate buildings, a sequence of signs leading individuals through escape routes to the ultimate exit is necessary.
  2. Visibility and Clarity: The presence of other signs, particularly in commercial spaces like shops, might obscure escape signs. Thus, it’s crucial that escape signs stand out and remain conspicuous, especially in the event of a fire evacuation.
  3. Consistency and Accessibility: Escape signs should follow a consistent design throughout the premises. They must be positioned at suitable heights and locations, ensuring maximum visibility and legibility even in large spaces.
  4. Inclusive Design: Consideration should be given to those with disabilities. Colour contrasts can be used for those with poor vision, while other aids can be implemented for those without sight.

Essential Criteria for Escape Signs:

  • They must offer lucid and unequivocal information.
  • Directional arrows should accompany every escape route sign, and they shouldn’t stand alone.
  • Their positioning should ensure that the next escape route sign is always visible.
  • Heights and placements should be consistent and standardised, considering both doors and walls.

Design and Legibility:

  • To comply with safety signs and signals regulations, they should be pictographic. Although text can complement the pictogram, a purely textual safety sign is not permissible.
  • Their legibility depends on size, illumination level, and the viewing distance.
  • The design should be consistent throughout the premises, avoiding oversized signs that might misdirect individuals.

Staff Notices and Multilingual Instructions:

Where the number of escape routes is limited, verbal reminders for staff might suffice. But, in complex premises or areas with diverse populations, multilingual instructions should be considered.


For escape signs to be effective, they must be well-lit. This can be achieved through both external and internal illumination. While photo-luminescent signs are an option, they shouldn’t replace appropriate emergency lighting.


Escape signs are the silent sentinels that ensure swift and safe evacuation during emergencies. They not only provide direction but also instil confidence in individuals during chaotic situations. As such, ensuring their visibility, clarity, and accessibility is of paramount importance.

For businesses, understanding and implementing these guidelines is not just a regulatory necessity but also a moral responsibility. For further guidance on fire safety measures, contact MartynYoung Fireprooging Consultancy today.