There are so many signs we are being asked to adhere to; ‘Keep 2 Metres’ apart being the major one at the moment. But signs can become so familiar that we forget they are there! Look around your office building, the supermarket, indeed virtually any indoor space and you’ll see signs everywhere. In an emergency would you know what those signs mean and how you should react to them? It could mean the difference between getting to safety or not.
When it comes to fire safety, taking the correct action can be lifesaving. Especially if you are returning back into work after being home in lockdown. Remember Fire Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Here in the UK, we use standardised sineage, but do you know what they mean?
Keep Fire Door Closed
Admit it, you’ve seen them wedged open, quite often by using a fire extinguisher!
Fire doors can withstand high temperature and will save lives and property. Precious time for you to be able to evacuate the area and shut the fire behind you. They won’t put the fire out, but they can hold it off and possibly slow down the spread of a fire. If you wedge one open it may as well not be there.
If you come across a Fire Door without a viewing window, do not open it. How do you know if a fire is the other side? Does the handle feel hot, if so, do not open it.
These are quite often shown on the wall in common areas, it’s there for a reason – read it. Fire equipment and a fire alarm points are usually near by.
You should never tackle a fire unless you have no choice or the fire is clearly not going to spread and is very small and contained. Note that this sign also displays the number for the fire brigade and the assembly point.
Would you push that button or break that glass?
Fire spreads very quickly so hitting the alarm could save a life. The most common alarm button is the ‘break glass’ kind. So would you sound that alarm? If you think there is a fire, far better to raise the alarm early, than to just carry on and wait for someone else to do it. At the very least, let your Fire Marshal know you think there might be a fire.
Hopefully everyone in your building will have Fire Safety training, which covers the use of fire extinguishers and whether or not it is adviseable to use them. Usually there will be the fire alarm button nearby and if your building has them, an emergency call button for anyone with limited mobility.
These are used to move persons with limited ability, who might not be able to evacuate themselves. You will find these in the stairwell and should be next to the Evac Chair sineage. This chair, as with all other fire quipment, should only be used in an emergency and your Fire Marshal will advise on how to use it.
Have you every studied the road signs for the Highway Code? Some give information, others an instruction and some an order. Think of Fire Signs in the same way. One thing they will all have in common though is that, as you have probably noticed, they are colour coded.
- Red signs are related to fire equipment. This why the fire extinguishers themselves are always red but the actual type of extinguisher is indicated by a second colour. So for example the CO2 indicator is always in black on an overall red cylinder.
- Blue signs are action signs, this means they are telling you to do something or alert you to something important. The actions on them are mandatory actions such as keeping a fire door closed.
- Green signs are guidance and will be telling you safe routes, clear exits and where is safe to be in an emergency.
This list of signs is not exhaustive, and you will find other signs for particular equipment such as hoses or fire blankets and many other variations of the ones above.
For those who may not be able to read the writing, there is usually a big, easy to understand icon, that explains the meaning of the sign
So to go back to the beginning, the signs are always there, it is just whether or not we pay attention to them. Look up and around, make a point of knowing what they are for. They could save your life, your property and those around you. Don’t wait until it is too late and it is already an emergency. Remember Fire Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
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