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Final fire exit sign, over door.


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Question, should the arrow on a final fire exit (over door) sign face down? as opposed to up? I know its not critical but my thinking is it is arrow down over the final exit and arrow up (over head) on route to the final exit. Thank you.

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If the emergency exit sign is over the final exit door then an arrow is not required on the sign.

Emergency exit signs only require directional arrows when a change of direction on the means of escape route is required to reach the emergency exit the sign refers to.

Pictogram only signs are acceptable, addition of text along with the pictogram is often used, just ensure no emergency exit signs are text only, so you comply with the Safety Signs & Signals Regulations 1996.

One emergency exit sigh that will have an arrow on and located above a final exit door is the pictograms of a open door, an arrow pointing to the door on the sign to the right  along with a running man going in the direction of the door on the sign.

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I'm afraid the last poster is out of date - arrows even for final exits became mandatory in all the exit signage standards many years ago with the BS/ISO signage.

As you are passing straight on through the door the arrow should point upwards in accordance with the signage standards for use of arrows although a down arrow on an existing sign is unlikely to cause confusion so unless you want to be pedantic there is no need to rush to change them.

Fire escape route signs

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If we are to class voluntary standards as legally mandatory then yes I would agree, but they aren't.

The way it was explained to me by an local authority fire inspector during a Fire and Rescue fire safety inspection of a care home was;

Safety Signs & Signals Regulations 1996 - lays out what you must do in law (mandatory) - the Reg's state that the signs shown in Schedule 1 of the Regulations are to be used when it is necessary to convey the relevant message(s) or information that is required, and signage should be easily understood by anyone in the area leaving no ambiguity. Signage is prescribed in the regulations for dimensions for the distances that they are to be viewed from, colours, and percentages of colours.

British Standards \ EN Standards - are guidance and advice only with no legal requirement to take as entirely prescriptive, but to aid\assist in meeting compliance to the Regulations where it is necessary.

So when the topic of directional arrows came up above final exit doors on the fire safety inspection, the local authority fire & rescue inspector stated that directional arrows are not mandatory above final exit doors because there is no ambiguity as to where you need to go to exit the building, as the final exit door is right in front of you, and directional arrows were only required when a change of direction occurred on the escape route to maintain the (easily understandable to anyone in the area leaving no ambiguity as to where to go to exit the building) aspect.

Very similar to fire extinguishers, where chrome bodied units are becoming popular. British Standards say the extinguisher body shall be red with the appropriate 5 to 10% colour identification band relating to the contents, And that the markings on the extinguisher shall be contrasting colours to the background. Same again, the enforcing authority in my experience does not compel businesses to remove these and replace with red bodied units because British Standards are guidance only and that the extinguishers still comply with the easily identifiable criteria.

I am not saying British Standards should not be followed, just that they are not prescriptively mandatory as so often gets stated, that's the regulations domain, and if you can satisfy the regulations requirement through another method, then that is often sufficient (depending on the aspect concerned and the technicalities of it of course).


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