Keeping assembly venue egress paths usable: Infrequently used exit doors or stairs

Blog Post created by laurenbackstrom Employee on Mar 23, 2012

Part 4 of 5

Assembly venues often control access by limiting entry to that provided by the main entrance where admission tickets can be collected or patron identification verified. The main entrance will serve as the main exit and is referred to in NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® as the main entrance/exit. Yet other exits are required. They take the form of doors and exit stair enclosures that are not used on a regular basis. The exit enclosure needs to be inspected as it is an inviting place to store things. Exhibit 1 depicts rolled carpet stored within an exit stair enclosure. The storage encroaches on the required egress path and introduces combustibles that could burn so as to prevent the use of the stair enclosure as an egress route. 


Infrequent stairs

Exhibit 1. Rolled carpet stored in an exit enclosure. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA. 

-Chris Dubay