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  • Writer's pictureMichael Rouleau

Ensuring Safety with Fire Escape Regulations

In the realm of building safety, fire escapes hold a pivotal role. They serve as the lifeline during emergencies, particularly in multi-storey structures. However, their effectiveness is largely dependent on strict adherence to safety regulations. This article aims to shed light on the crucial aspects of fire escapes safety regulations, with a particular focus on the stipulations of the 1990 Building Code.


The Role of Fire Escapes in Building Safety

Fire escapes are integral components of a building's safety infrastructure. They provide a secure and efficient exit route during emergencies. Predominantly constructed from metal, fire escapes are affixed to the building's exterior and are designed for easy accessibility and swift descent to the ground level.


Decoding the Fire Escape Safety Regulations

The 1990 Building Code presents specific regulations that fire escapes must comply with. These regulations are meticulously designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of fire escapes. They encompass various elements, including the strategic placement of doorways and windows, the fire-protection rating of closures, and the mandatory requirement for self-closing devices.


Strategic Placement of Doorways and Windows

If a fire escape serves any storey above the second floor, specific regulations apply to doorway and window openings. These openings must be protected if they are:

  • Within 3 m horizontally of any balcony, platform, or stairway of the fire escape.

  • Within 3 storeys below or 10 m below any balcony, platform, or stairway of the fire escape.

  • Within 1.8 m above any balcony, platform, or stairway of the fire escape.


Fire-Protection Rating of Closures

The 1990 Building Code mandates that doorway openings must be protected with closures having a fire-protection rating of not less than 20 minutes. Additionally, these closures must be equipped with self-closing devices. Similarly, window openings must be protected with closures that have a fire-protection rating of not less than 20 minutes. These closures must be fixed shut or arranged to close automatically upon the operation of a fusible link.


The Significance of Adhering to Fire Escape Safety Regulations

Compliance with fire escape safety regulations is of paramount importance. Firstly, it ensures the structural integrity of the fire escape, enabling it to bear the weight of multiple occupants during an emergency. Secondly, it guarantees easy accessibility and unobstructed evacuation routes, allowing occupants to evacuate swiftly and safely. Lastly, it minimizes the risk of fire spreading to the fire escape, ensuring its viability as a safe exit route during a fire.


Wrapping Up

Fire escapes are an indispensable part of a building's safety infrastructure. Adherence to fire escape safety regulations is crucial to ensure their effectiveness. By understanding and implementing these regulations, building owners and managers can safeguard their occupants and provide a safe and efficient means of exit during emergencies.

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