Front Door on Fire? Know How to Evacuate

Silver Diner fire

It was probably hard to miss the image last week of a SUV ablaze at the front door of a restaurant in Tysons.

Fire and Rescue Batallion Chief John Walser invites you to think of another way out of buildings. In our “Building Official’s Blog” he writes:

When you visit a restaurant – or even places you visit often, like your workplace – do you know the alternate ways out? Usually, we think of the way we entered a building as the way we would leave.  In an emergency, every possible exit must be easy for people to see and access.  Luckily, in the case of the SUV in Tysons, when the front doors became blocked, those having lunch that day were able to find alternate exits to evacuate safely.

What happened in Tysons highlights the importance of keeping secondary egress paths open and visible. Building and fire codes help ensure that buildings are built and maintained for the safety of the public and first responders. These codes require that building:

  • Design includes an adequate number and size of exits.
  • Exits remain unlocked, unblocked, and are visible.
  • Exit markings are in place and show a direct way to safety.

These aspects of building design and maintenance are critical when a fire, explosion or other crisis occurs and could save your life. Maintaining clear exit paths is a constant challenge and blocking a single exit for even a moment could result in tragedy.

While prevention is often difficult to quantify, the outcome that everyone was able to evacuate this building, displays the effectiveness.

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