The Three Parts of the Means of Egress
Professor Scott Rounds
28 June 2012
Professor Scott Rounds
28 June 2012
The Three Parts of the Meаns of Egress
The means of egress is а “continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way.” The codes treat means of egress as a comprehensive “system” of components (Brannigan & Corbett, 2008). A meаns of egress has three independent and different segments: the exit access, the exit, and the exit discharge. The exit access is the part of the means of egress system that leads from a main portion of a building or structure to an exit. It includes halls, corridors, aisles, and other walking or escape paths. The exit is the part of a means of egress that is separated from other interior spaces of a building or structure by fire-resistance construction and opening protection as required to provide a secure path if egress travel between the exit access and exit discharge. Exits include exterior exit doors at ground level, exit passageways, exterior exit stairs, exterior exit ramps, and horizontal exits. The exit discharge is that part of a means of egress between the termination of an exit and a public way which is a street, alley, or other area devoted for use. Solving means of egress problems to meet the codes requirements can be a hard work for code officials and building construction professionals, but the importance of providing a safe means of escape from hazardous environment cannot be overstressed. All structures and buildings designed to have people occupy them must have a means of egress. The main reason behind these rules is to make sure that there are few instances of danger to the worker or the occupant in the case of a major incident. The means of egress can also protect tenants from the resulting gases or smoke that come from the fire and they also ensure safety as result of panic from the incidence of the fire. The three means of egress only apply to protection and have nothing to do with property conservation. Buildings should be situated such that all the exits enable free movement. Additionally, the means of egress must not obstructed by any materials, persons and activities. The egress must be a key component in all parts of the building and must allow ease of use at all times. (International Building Code, 2009.) Another aspect about the three main components of egress is assurance of visibility. Buildings should be organized in such a way that the routes to all exits are visibly located, this refers to the lighting aspect. Buildings should be such that they provide sufficient lighting at all the exits at all times. (International Building Code, 2009.) Another requirement is concerning fire alarms. The means of egress principles require that fire alarms be put in place in to warn their tenants of the fire. This should occur in the event that the fire in itself does not provide sufficient warning to the residents of the facility. In the event that one means of egress is blocked by the resulting smoke or fire, then buildings should have two means of egress. (NFPA 72, 2010.)
Warning occupants who are in a means of egress is not difficult notions once the definitions of exit access, exit and exit discharge are comprehended. While some disciplines and trades might not be as acquainted with the means of egress concepts that drive the occupant notification requirements, fire protection engineers are accustomed with the definitions and need only apply the corresponding code requirements for audible and visible occupant notification.
Brannigan, F. L., & Corbett, G. P. (2008). Brannigan’s Building Construction for the Fire Service (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. International Building Code, International Code Council Inc., Washington, DC, 2009. NFPA 72,...
References: Brannigan, F. L., & Corbett, G. P. (2008). Brannigan’s Building Construction for the Fire Service (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
International Building Code, International Code Council Inc., Washington, DC, 2009.
NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA, 2010.
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