Using clear, conspicuous signage to show the location of fire extinguishers is an important component of employee safety and emergency preparedness in the workplace. But what type of fire extinguisher sign is required, and how should it be used? To find these answers, look to common sense thinking and standards set by the governing bodies who oversee fire- and workplace-related safety.

What Does a Fire Extinguisher Sign Indicate?

A fire extinguisher sign should clearly identify the location of the apparatus. It can also state that the surrounding area should be kept clear from blockages, ensuring easy access to the extinguisher in the event of an emergency.

Are Fire Extinguisher Signs Required?

Yes: Guidelines around fire extinguishers in the workplace imply that clear signage is required. Fire extinguisher mounting requirements and other visual cue standards for fire safety are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

According to OSHA, “The employer shall provide portable fire extinguishers and shall mount, locate and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees without subjecting the employees to possible injury” [OSHA regulation 1910.157(c)(1)].

While this does not explicitly state that OSHA requires fire extinguisher signs, the language implies the need for identification of some sort. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers more clarity: According to NFPA standards, the location of fire extinguishers inside cabinets must be “marked conspicuously.”¹ In large rooms and in places where visual obstructions exist, “means shall be provided to indicate the extinguisher location.”² Local building codes typically follow NFPA standards.

What’s the bottom line? OSHA and local building inspectors will be looking for a noticeable fire extinguisher sign, especially if the extinguisher is located inside a cabinet, in a large room, or in a place where it is not easily seen.

What Type of Signage Is Required for Fire Extinguishers?

There are minimal established requirements for fire extinguisher signage. OSHA guidelines state what color the signs should be and NFPA offers guidelines about where signs are located, but the type of sign is generally left to the discretion of the business owner. Choose from durable floor markings, versatile gobo signage, traditional posters, and other signage options to best suit your space.

OSHA Fire Extinguisher Sign & Floor Marking Requirements

OSHA offers no specific guidelines on what type of signs or floor markings should indicate the location of fire extinguishers, but it does set color standards for visual safety cues. According to these regulations, the color red should be used to indicate “fire protection equipment and apparatus”—a category that includes fire extinguishers.³

NFPA Fire Extinguisher Sign Requirements

According to NFPA, where fire extinguisher signs should comply with the following requirements:

  1. They must be located in close proximity to the extinguisher;
  2. They must be visible from the normal path of travel.⁴

Both OSHA and NFPA suggest that fire extinguishers must have identifying signs. We can infer from their standards that this signage should prominently feature the color red, be placed near the extinguisher, and be large enough to be seen from normal paths of travel. 

How to Provide Clear Visual Cues for Fire Extinguishers

Use floor marking tape and other floor signs to alert staff members to the locations of fire extinguishers—an essential, low-maintenance safety practice for any workplace. Consider the type and material of fire extinguisher signs to choose the best option for your application.

Types of Fire Extinguisher Floor Signs

Floor-based fire extinguisher signs are durable and unobtrusive, but clear enough to meet OSHA and NFPA standards. Choose from the following types of fire extinguisher signs at Stop-Painting.com. 

  • With large motifs and bold colors, a circular fire extinguisher floor sign provides clear visual cues to indicate the location of the apparatus.
  • Floor marking tape can clearly label the boundary of an area that should be kept clear for easy access to the extinguisher. 
  • For all-in-one convenience, a pre-cut floor marking kit includes everything you need to indicate the location of a fire extinguisher and ensure the area in front of it is kept free from furniture, boxes, or other equipment that could block access. 
Fire Extinguisher Floor Signs & Fire Extinguisher Floor-Marking Kit (available at Stop-Painting.com)

Fire Extinguisher Floor Signs & Fire Extinguisher Floor-Marking Kit (available at Stop-Painting.com)

Choose from fire extinguisher floor signs and marking tape in a variety of materials to accommodate the specific needs of your space: removable vinyl floor signs for areas with moderate traffic, medium-duty rubber signs for uneven surfaces, permanent inlaid mesh signs, or durable but easy-to-install Superior Mark material. 

Our selection of floor marking signs includes clear, durable options to indicate the location of fire extinguishers in the workplace. For more industrial safety information, explore our Resource Center

References:

[1] NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers (2013), 6.1.3.10.2, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA, accessed July 6, 2015, https://www.nfpa.org.
[2] Ibid., 6.1.3.3.2.
[3] OSHA 1910.144(a)(1)(i), OSHA General Environmental Controls, https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.144
[4] NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers (2013), 6.1.3.3., National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA, https://www.nfpa.org.

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