Regulations for Fire Signage

Fire signage is meant to aid people in controlling or escaping a fire situation in a public area or workplace. Additionally, some localities require clearly marking fire resistant walls above the ceiling line in offices and warehouses to make them easily recognizable to emergency workers. Exit and fire signage requirements are usually grouped together, due to the necessity of being able to locate exits in the event of a fire.

  1. Exit Signs

    • Exit signs are mounted above the preferred exit location.
      Exit signs are mounted above the preferred exit location.

      All exits should be clearly marked. Flat-mounted exit signs should be placed directly above the door at a height that provides maximum visibility. Projecting exit signs may be placed above and to either side of the door opening, with placement on the handle or latching side being the optimum location. Lettering for exit signage should be a minimum of 2 inches in height, and lighted signs are commonly 4 to 6 inches tall for easy identification. If an exit leads into a corridor or a room with multiple doors, you are required to indicate the direction of the exit.

    Fire Control Signage

    • Fire extinguishers should be highly visible.
      Fire extinguishers should be highly visible.

      Fire alarms and extinguishers need to be clearly marked with lettering at least 2 inches high and visible from a minimum straight-line distance of 100 feet. Typical fire extinguisher signs will have an arrow that points towards the extinguisher. Fire and smoke alarm signals should be placed as high as possible to provide visual and audible warning. The predominant colors used for fire signage are red and white, with either color serving as the background.

    Gathering Points

    • Gathering points are designated safe spots well away from the building.
      Gathering points are designated safe spots well away from the building.

      People need to know where to regroup so everyone can be accounted for, once a fire alarm has sounded. This sign is placed at a safe distance from the building, and is the focal point for all employees of a building, rather than a single employer. To make employees aware of the exit procedure and gathering points, businesses are encouraged to have regular fire drills and to provide each employee with training on how to safely exit in an emergency situation.


    • The primary exit needs to be placed conspicuously.
      The primary exit needs to be placed conspicuously.

      Illumination is not a requirement for most fire signage, but it is used to increase visibility of smoke and fire alarms. The primary exit points do requirement illuminated signage. This should be powered by facility power, but include a battery backup. Lettering is typically a backlit white background with red letters of 2 inches or more in height. Some localities will also require emergency lighting devices installed at exit points to provide temporary visibility in the event of a power loss.

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  • Photo Credit fire exit image by Vonora from Fire exit image by JASON WINTER from fire extinguiser sign -macro image by Ben Baker from fire & rescue image by Jim Parkin from exit image by Joseph Pierce from

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