Under the EN 3 standard, the front label of a fire extinguisher now carries all the necessary information regarding what types of fire it can be used on and the procedure for actually using it. This means that the extinguisher itself is a fire extinguisher sign and a separate sign, in accordance to EN3, might no longer be required. However, the official Fire Risk Assessment Guides state that suitable signs may be required to indicate the location of extinguishers.
What needs to be considered?
While additional fire extinguisher signs may formally not be required in your building, there are compelling reasons to include signs in your provisioning. Imagine that you are trapped in a building during a fire, the rooms and corridors are slowly filling with smoke and reducing the available light and visibility. If your extinguisher, correctly installed on its bracket, is on the other side of a room full of desks and chairs, it is highly likely that you won’t be able to see where it is. You may think that you will be ok as you have had fire drills and training and you know where the extinguishers are located. But in an emergency it is all too easy to get disoriented, for the thick choking smoke to obscure your vision and for panic to set in. In a situation such as this you will be thankful that you included some photoluminescent fire extinguisher signs and had them installed at eye level. They are cost effective, require no power source (light is soaked up during the day and discharged when it is dark).
A sign must be installed if the extinguisher itself is not directly visible. In modern offices where everyone has their own cubicle it would be very difficult to locate the nearest fire extinguisher in an emergency. In this kind of installation it would be necessary to install some fire extinguisher location signs that are visible from anywhere in the room. Panoramic photoluminescent fire equipment location signs are ideal as they are viewable from every angle and are visible in low light.