What are Fire Refuge Signs? - The Sign Shed

What are Fire Refuge Signs?

What are Fire Refuge Signs?

Fire refuge signs are safety signs that indicate designated safe areas within a building where individuals can go to escape a fire, particularly those with disabilities or mobility impairments. This type of sign plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe evacuation of all occupants in an emergency.

Purpose of Fire Refuge Signs

Fire refuge signs serve several important purposes:

  1. Identify Fire Refuge Areas: These signs clearly indicate the location of designated fire refuge areas, providing clear direction to occupants with disabilities or mobility impairments.
  2. Ensure Safe Evacuation: Fire refuge areas are designed to provide a safe haven for individuals who may not be able to reach an exit quickly or easily during a fire emergency.
  3. Assist Firefighters: Fire refuge signs help firefighters locate and assist individuals who may be trapped or unable to evacuate independently.
  4. Compliance with Regulations: Fire refuge signs are mandated by fire safety regulations in many jurisdictions, ensuring that buildings are equipped with these essential safety features.

Design and Symbolism

Fire refuge signs follow standardized designs and symbols for clarity and consistency:

  1. Green Background: Fire refuge signs typically have a green background, which is associated with safety and is easily recognizable in dimly lit environments.
  2. Wheelchair Symbol: A stylized wheelchair symbol is used to represent the designated fire refuge area, specifically indicating its suitability for individuals with mobility impairments.
  3. Directional Arrow: An arrow may be included to indicate the specific direction of the fire refuge area, especially in situations where there are multiple refuge points.
  4. Legible Text: The word "REFUGE" or "SAFE AREA" is often displayed in clear, bold lettering, ensuring that the sign's message is easily understood.

Placement and Maintenance

Fire refuge signs should be strategically placed throughout the building, ensuring that they are visible from multiple angles and within close proximity to designated fire refuge areas. They should be mounted at a height that is easily seen by occupants, typically between 6 feet and 8 feet from the floor.

Regular inspection and maintenance of fire refuge signs are crucial to ensure their effectiveness in an emergency. Signs should be checked for damage, dirt, or obstructions, and any issues should be addressed promptly. Routine cleaning and replacement of damaged or faded signs are essential to maintain their visibility and effectiveness.

Compliance with Standards

Fire refuge signs must comply with relevant British Standards (BS) and fire safety regulations. BS 5499-1:2011 specifically outlines the design, dimensions, colors, and symbols for fire refuge signs, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in conveying fire safety information.


Fire refuge signs play a critical role in safeguarding individuals with disabilities or mobility impairments during fire emergencies. By adhering to standardized designs, symbols, and placement guidelines, fire refuge signs provide clear and consistent visual cues that guide people to safety. Regular inspection and maintenance ensure that these essential safety features remain effective in protecting all occupants in the event of a fire.


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