Tips to Keep Your Building Safe and Your Emergency Door Working Well at All Times
All buildings require at least one emergency door, depending on the size, and exits to keep occupants safe in the event of a fire or other life-threatening emergency. Emergency exits include any pathway that leads occupants to safety outside of the building, including corridors, stairwells, fire escapes, and emergency doors.
When installing new doors or changing locks in your building, you must always keep fire safety in mind. Owners of buildings—whether commercial or residential—must follow building and safety codes set out by their provinces and municipalities. These regulations cover both the safety of occupants—including protection from panic, fumes, and fire—and fire containment in buildings.
For most buildings, emergency fire doors are required for corridor doorways, laundry and garbage rooms, and building exits. These doors must also be certified and labeled properly upon installation.
For the safety of everyone in your building, make sure to inspect every emergency door and any exits in the building regularly to see if they are up to safety standards. Each emergency door and exit should have:
1. Unrestricted Egress
Emergency doors must allow occupants to use normal force to exit a building. There cannot be anything blocking the door or pathway to the door that would cause delays, panic, or confusion for occupants trying to exit the building. Emergency doors cannot be locked from the inside, nor can they be obstructed by anything, such as surplus inventory, boxes, furniture, shelves, displays, shoes, clothing, and plants.
2. Fire and Smoke Protection
Emergency doors should automatically close to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, especially to the common areas of buildings that occupants use for exits in an emergency. This ensures that all occupants can exit the building safely, without panic and exposure to smoke and flames.
Often, buildings have illuminated “EXIT” signs to indicate the location of the emergency pathway and door. These illuminated signs provide visibility to occupants even if they are in distress or smoke is impeding on their visibility. Make sure the light bulbs in your “EXIT” signs are tested and replaced frequently to keep them illuminated at all times.
Also, keep your emergency exits and pathways well-lit at all times for ample visibility during a fire. In the event that the building’s power goes out, there should be an emergency lighting system in place to keep the emergency exits well lit. Also, test the emergency lighting on a monthly basis.
4. Alarm System
For additional safety and security, businesses may also install a security alarm system with their emergency doors. The emergency fire exit system can include a business’s fire alarm, intrusion, and panic system, so occupants are alerted whenever there is a security or safety threat. These systems are especially useful in banks, retail buildings, and warehouses where there is a higher risk of theft.
To keep your building safe at all times, make sure every emergency door and exit is up to standard. Consult your provincial and municipal building and safety codes, and perform regular inspections and maintenance. In the event of a fire or emergency, make sure your occupants are safe at all times and can exit without panic or confusion.