All You Need to Know about Fire Door Signage

Why Should Fire Doors be kept shut?

We’ve all seen fire door signage before, but until now you may not have realised how important it is. All public and shared buildings, including multi-storey buildings, are subject to strict fire safety regulations. Potentially the most important aspect of fire safety is the presence of fire doors. Fire doors bearing the words ‘Fire Door Keep Shut’ are an integral part of fire compartmentation and they should remain shut at all times. Unfortunately, on occasions you may find these doors propped open. In order to understand why this should never happen, read on to discover why it is vitally important to keep fire doors shut.

In order to be an effective barrier against simple and flames, and ensure a functioning fire compartmentation system, fire doors should always remain closed. If not, a fire will spread with greater ease and be harder to contain. Ultimately, this puts the occupants of the building in greater danger and means that the emergency services have less opportunity to extinguish the fire and evacuate. What’s more, as a building owner, proper fire compartmentation protects your building from further damage in the event of a fire. In short, propped open fire doors comprise it.

When can Fire Doors be Propped open?

Fire doors must never be propped open. However, some fire doors are designed to be held open at all times and close in the event of a fire. These doors are kept open by a fire door retainer, also called fire door hold open devices, which safely hold open heavy fire doors to allow access through buildings. There are many reasons why you may need to hold open fire doors:

  • For easier accessibility
  • For ventilation
  • During busy times


Importantly, these devices are released in the event of a fire, meaning the door will close and allow the fire compartment to perform as designed in the event of a fire. Any doors without these retaining devices should never be propped open, even for the above reasons.

The Importance of Correct Fire Door Signage

So, now you understand why fire doors must be kept shut, this is where proper fire door signage comes into play. These circular signs contain information to remind building users how to use the doors i.e. ensure they are kept shut. In buildings, this safety sign is ISO 3864 standard blue to identify mandatory safety signs, indicating that the actions must be followed in order to comply with fire regulations. Although these signs may be small, they are extremely important and serve two important roles:

  • To save lives
  • To protect buildings


There are several variations on the fire safety signs. These include:

Fire Door Keep Shut

Most commonly seen on general doors within buildings its sole purpose is to inform residents and users that they must not leave fire doors open. To this end, the ‘Fire Door Keep Shut’ sign gives a clear instruction to help prevent unnecessary damage or risk to life in the event of a fire.

Fire Door Keep Locked 

This sign informs both staff and visitors that the fire door in question must be kept locked when not in use. Again, this is to prevent the spread of a fire. Typically you may see these signs on doors to riser cupboards and plant rooms that need to be secure and people don’t need constant access to.

Fire Door Keep Clear 

These signs serve as a reminder of where a fire door is located to ensure that it is kept clear of any obstructions that may prevent your exit during an evacuation. These are especially important on fire exits which building users or visitors may unintentionally block. Clear signage prevents this from happening. 

Automatic Fire Door Keep Clear

These signs are shown on doors that feature automatic closing devices and connect to your fire alarm system to provide protection against the spread of fire. Usually they are found in places with a lot of through traffic like hospitals, or in buildings with disabled access. The two types of automatic fire doors are:

  • Doors that are always closed and automatically open
  • Doors that are always open which release if the fire alarm goes off

Where do you put Fire Door Keep Shut signs?

Fire door signs should be fitted on both sides of a fire door, close to eye level to ensure they are visible and readable. Most signs are fitted at around 1.5m so that it is noticeable for most people. To ensure compliance, it’s always best to have an experienced professional fit these signs who can advise on the correct signage including where and when they should be applied.

Is Fire Safety Signage Required by law?

Yes, fire safety signs are a legal requirement. They should clearly and effectively mark fire doors, escape routes and exits in order for your building to be compliant with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This legislation states that fire signage must be fitted in all commercial and residential premises to help prevent fires. The different types of fire safety signage that every business must have includes the mandatory signs detailed above.

If you would like to better understand fire door signage requirements, contact us for specialist fire safety advice. Or, if you are unsure whether your fire doors adhere to legislation, book in for a fire door survey with the experts at Adaston.

Written by

Nic Bohanna Linkedin

Nic is the Key Client Manager at Adaston with a degree from the prestigious Durham University. With a background in management in the service industry, he now ensures all our passive fire protection services run smoothly. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him pursuing his favourite activities of hill walking, a game of golf, or enjoying a nice cold pint.

Get in Touch Below

    Or complete the form below.

    Published on: