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Fire Safety in blocks of flats – Fire safety signs – Pt 16

Posted: 06/01/2015 12:58

This week’s blog will look at the necessity for fire safety signage within blocks of flats. Most commonly, people think that fire safety signage for escape routes are obligatory, but actually, in the case of many blocks of flats, this is not the case.

In blocks where there is one entrance, and that entrance is also the exit, i.e., one main staircase, one main exit door to the block, there is not considered to be a necessity to place signs to show the exit. It is generally considered, that if occupants have entered the block via a given route, they will have familiarity with this route as an exit also.

Fire exit signage is required in some instances, for example:

• Where there is more than one potential exit
• Where there is a second exit by an external stairway
• Where the exit route passes over a flat roof
• Or, where there is any potential for confusion/an exit is not a familiar route

There is signage specifically for the doors to store rooms, electrical equipment compartments or ancillary rooms which should normally read “Fire Door Keep Locked Shut”.

Additionally, “Fire Door Keep Shut” signs should be shown on each side of fire-resistant doors which form part of the escape route, for example, cross-corridor doors. As these doors are self-closing, the signs should be there to warn residents or visitors not to prop open the door. Flat entrance doors are exempt from this requirement as they are normally closed when not in use.

There are occasional instances of fire doors which are either held open in normal conditions or automatically open in the case of a fire and remain open, these should be signed “Automatic Fire Door Keep Clear” to avoid a situation where stored items or rubbish interfere with the opening mechanism.
The type of signs used should adhere to the standards as directed in BS 5499.

Upkeep of the signs and their suitability for purpose should be considered as a part of the regular Fire Risk Assessment process and actioned as prioritisation allows. However, it should be clarified that appropriate and visible signage must be used where it is required.

Next week’s blog will look at emergency lighting in blocks of flats and also consider the appropriate and fire safe disposal of rubbish via chutes or refuse rooms. . In the meantime, if you have any queries about a project or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.

The Complete Fire Safety Management Platform is the only fully comprehensive online fire risk assessment and fire risk management platform. Our aim, at CFSM, is to make the process of becoming fire safe, straightforward and, to use our expertise in fire risk assessment and fire safety management to guide you through each step, resulting in your premises meeting all legal, insurance and ethical fire safety considerations.


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