So, you’ve done the right thing and formulated an excellent fire response plan. What’s next? Have you checked that your route away from a fire is in good working order? If not, now might be the time. While fire escapes are the last step on the road to fire safety, they are one of the most important. Today, we will examine the importance of inspecting and maintaining fire escapes and show you the best ways to ensure safe outcomes.
Fire Escapes | More Than Just a Door
We know what you are thinking.
A fire escape is just a door, right?
The term ‘fire escape’ refers to more than just the door out of a home or building. It is, in fact, the entire route, from the building to a prespecified point of safety.
This could include areas and objects such as:
- Fire extinguishers
- And much more…
More than you thought, right?
Look at the above list again and imagine your fire escape route encompasses all of the above. Suppose any of the above is blocked, compromised, damaged, or unserviceable. In that case, you could face the very realistic prospect of people being literally trapped in a highly dangerous and life-threatening situation.
Solving the problem is easy. The consequences of not doing so will last a lifetime.
Why Is It Important Not To Block Fire Exits?
When fire breaks out and becomes uncontrollable, the speed at which people can escape is crucial. In less than 30 seconds, small fires can become a literal inferno.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that every second counts!
An object blocking a fire exit might be small and innocuous. In itself, it might not look like a danger. However, it only takes one person to trip for that small obstruction to become a large, man-sized obstruction. All of a sudden, that fire exit has become severely restricted.
How and Why Do Fire Escapes Become Unserviceable?
Fire escapes can become unserviceable for several reasons. Let’s take a look at the primary causes:
It often isn’t the fault of the owner of the business or property. Often when old tenants move out, new occupiers move into premises. As a result, they inherit the old escape system and assume that it is safe as it ‘came fitted as standard’.
Sadly, this can often not be the case, leading to a situation where the flaws and maintenance issues are only uncovered when the fire escape is used for real, with tragic results.
We hate to say it, but some people do regard fire escapes as simply ‘just a door’ and give it about the same amount of attention.
It is also worth noting that a large percentage of fire escapes have the majority of their ‘structure’ outside. While they look in good shape indoors, the outer section (where people will need to be) has seen better days.
Fire escapes offer an easy point of egress to a safe area. Unfortunately, as an unintended result, they can often present unscrupulous individuals with an easy way to access exterior features of a building, including access doors, windows, and balconies.
While it is unsafe, it is only natural for some to feel that they have to lock and secure areas that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible from street level.
We aim to point no fingers here. Safety is the number one goal. Often fire escapes can become degraded by accident. The local decorator, ignorant of the rules, may paint over signage. People may prop open doors with large objects to ‘help’ their colleagues. Others simply might not notice that the stairway leading to the street has become rusted or corroded.
Whatever the reason or motives behind it, your fire escape may need fixing or repairing promptly.
How Often Should Fire Escapes Be Checked?
It is recommended that fire escape assemblies be checked at least once every five years. However, that is a limit, not an aspiration.
When was the last time you had your fire escapes checked? Was it five years ago, three, never? If you do not know, then there is no harm whatsoever in having them checked right away!
It is well worth checking them as regularly as you can for things other than damage and degradation on a smaller level.
Fire Escape Inspection | The Easiest Solution
Do you know what to look for when checking fire escapes? While you might think you are in the clear, how sure can you be of the regulations governing the number and standard of fire escapes? Don’t worry if you don’t know. There is an easier way.
By consulting a professional fire protection service, you can quickly and easily arrange an inspection. In a short space of time, you can have all of your exits checked and rated regarding safety.
A good inspector will not only have a detailed knowledge of the regulatory requirements, and be able to identify weak areas. They will also be able to offer expert advice on ways to improve and maintain your fire escapes so they are available and safe at a moment’s notice.
If you are looking to install a brand new fire escape, this is also an option. You can be guaranteed that you are complying with all legal requirements and will undoubtedly gain a fire escape system that is easier to maintain. Protecting you and others for years to come.
Fraker Fire is a California based fire protection company with many years of experience. From fire protection systems to fire escapes, they are ideally suited to cater to your needs. Our inspectors can attend to your property and make an assessment before offering expert advice on what you need to do to make a building completely safe against fire. This includes fixing and maintain existing systems.
Why not contact Fraker Fire today to book an appointment with one of our trained inspectors?