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Why we need fire safety signs

Evacuation Signs
Knowledge is the best defense against an emergency. Post signs to help spread the word about proper evacuation protocol.

In 2010, fires caused $11.6 billion in property damage in the United States. On average, fire kills nine people each day. With such substantial harm, fire prevention and emergency preparation are extremely important in both workplaces and households. Fire safety signs are one way to do this.

In industrial workplaces, fire safety signs are particularly important. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fires in industrial and manufacturing properties caused $951 million in property damage per year between 2006 and 2010. Such frequent damage necessitates both that exit signs be clearly marked, but also that tools like fire extinguishers be marked for smaller fires to nip the fire in the proverbial bud and prevent wide-scale damage.

Fire safety signs serve a number of purposes. Signs can help prevent fires before they occur. Oftentimes, signs will mark flammable substances, often with a red diamond, or indicate areas where people shouldn’t smoke or do other possibly hazardous things in case of fire.

The psychological benefits of fire signs are also worth noting. By putting your workers’ minds at ease, fire safety signs give them one less worry in the world. In combination with fire drills and safety training, signs will make employees feel like evacuations are second nature. Signs often also serve to mark the locations of fire blankets and extinguishers, making it easier for employees in case a fire actually does break out.

In addition, fire safety signs have a general color code for ease of use in times of emergency. Red signs show danger or prohibitions, but can also point to firefighting equipment. Green signage is reserved for emergency equipment and escape route markers. Blue signs are used for mandatory measures, like indicating that a door is usable only as an emergency exit. Yellow signage indicates warning signs and precautions.

Despite the obvious benefits of proactive fire prevention, an investigative report by The Chicago Tribune found that even fire prevention is political. Flame retardants are implied to be lines of defense against accidental fires, but the report found that not only are they mostly ineffective (a product of hard lobbying by the tobacco industry), but the chemicals in fire retardants are actually harmful, particularly to children and pets. Knowledge and awareness beat a chemical solution to fire safety.

If a fire ever breaks out in your workplace, having the proper signage can make you feel more at ease and less panicked in a difficult situation. Fires affect workplaces in every industry — taking steps to prevent fires is always worth the trouble.

 
 
 
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