Standardization of Building Exits
A national standard safety code for building exits aimed to cut down the annual loss of 15,000 lives by fire in the United States, has just been approved by the American Standards Association and made available for adoption by state and municipal authorities and for use by architects, engineers and builders. The code was prepared by a technical committee of thirty representatives of safety and insurance organizations, federal government departments, state departments of labor, local fire departments, architects, engineers and others. It represents sixteen years of study by this committee and its predecessors.
The National Fire Protection Association assumed the technical leadership in the preparation of the code under the national standardization procedure of the American Standards Association. The code contains an entire new section on theatres and other places of public assembly, and a revision and enlargement of a tentative code issued in 1927, covering safe exit provisions for schools, hospitals, department stores, factories and other occupancies.
In the section on theatres, the code says;
“The practice of allowing persons to stand near exits, however, should be discouraged if not prohibited altogether, the utilization of standing space within theatres or motion picture theatre auditoriums should be prohibited.”
The code also states that:
“The line of travel to an exit door by any aisle shall be not greater than 150 feet, and if more than 100 ft. it shall have not more than one angle or turn. Not more than twenty transverse rows of seats shall be placed between cross aisles. Not more than ten rows of seats nor twelve feet of rise may be placed between cross aisles where steps are provided in the main aisles to overcome differences in level. Cross aisles shall be not less than forty-four inches wide, unless railed away from the seats fronting thereon. If so railed the width shall not be less than three feet.”
Particular attention in the code is devoted to fire drills.
“In buildings where the population is of a changing character and not under discipline, for example, in hotels or in department stores, no regularly organized fire exit, drill, such as that which may be conducted in schools, is possible ” says the code. “In such eases the fire exit drills must be limited to the regular employees who, however, can be thoroughly schooled in the proper procedure and can be trained to properly direct other occupants of the building in case of fire. In occupancies such as hospitals, no regularly constituted fire exit drill is praticable. Here again, however, the regular employees can he rehearsed in the proper procedure in case of fire; such training always is advisable in all occupancies whether or not regular fire exit drills can be held.”
In an extensive section of the code devoted to schools, school buildings of low height are recommended because of their greater safety. The code recognizes the necessity for higher buildings in cities, however, and provides accordingly. The code stipulates that schools should have corridors at least eight feet wide and it recommends that in elementary schools lockers should not be located in corridors. . .
In the part of the code devoted to department stores it is provided that no portion of any building or section shall be more than one hundred feet (along the line of travel) from the nearest exit.
Alfred M. Hogston Appoints Deputies—Three non-salaried deputy fire marshals were appointed by Alfred M. Hogston, fire marshal of Indiana. The men appointed are C. E. Stoop, Indianapolis, formerly a captain of the Fort Wayne Fire Department; F. E. Champaigne, city electrician of South Bend, and W S. Young, city electrician of Michigan City.