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Three Parts of a Means of Egress
A means of egress is the ability of people to leave a building safely when an emergency occurs. The exit path has to b well maintained in order to ensure that they are not obstacles to individuals during operations. An emergency may include fire and collapsing of a building. A means of egress comprises of three main parts. The parts are the path of travel to an exit, the exit itself, and the exit discharge that is also referred to as the path to a safe assembly point (LeClaire 2005).
- The path of travel to an exit. It is also referred to as the exit access or the egress path. This is the path used by occupants of the structure to move from their workstations to a safe exit. It includes the space used by residents as a passage to reach the exit point. This may include the offices and corridors. The egress path must have fully illuminated exit signs. These signs should be clearly marked to aid the residents in case of an emergency (Stern, & Newlove, 2004).
- The exit. This is the exit door, which is found at the farthest end of the path. It is a stipulated requirement that the exit should lead to the public assembly space. The exit door can have interior doors, which expressly head to the lobby or the doorway.
- The exit discharge. The exit discharge is very important within a building. The space that comes immediately after the exit discharge must be kept clear of any objects that may hinder free accessibility during an emergency.
The design of egress
The design of egress varies from one region to the other, depending on the specific use of the structure, room, or space. There are basic requirements laid down by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that guide these designs. These standard rules have to be applied when designing the egress.
The NFPA has specified particular standards that must be applied when designing all the doors the egress. Some of these rules are discussed. At all times, no locking hardware for example chains and other locking devices should be used on these doors. These devices can be used to lock the door from inside and this can result in fatalities during an emergency. It should be possible to open all the doors in a single motion. This ensures that there is a quick passage of occupants in emergency moments (Sturtevant, 2005).
The National Fire Protection Association has also specified measurements recommended for the doors. These recommendations are as follows. All doors along with the egress and its corridors must have a minimum width of 71.1 cm. In addition to this, the corridors must be 2.3 m. This is meant to ensure that the doors and corridors can accommodate all sizes of people. This further increases the safety of people.
The total number of occupants to be accommodated within one room is dictated by its size. This could also depend on the usage of the door. On the other hand, rooms without furniture will take seven square feet, largely because they are usually empty. This means they can accommodate more people. It is recommended that egress should be limited to the smallest number of people using the standardized methods of calculation (Brannigan, & Corbett, 2008)
The evolution of fire code history
The National Fire Protection Association was officially formed in 1996. However, the association traces its origin in the 20th century. Several people laid the foundation for this association. Their efforts contributed greatly and their ideas were significant in the formation of the association, its policies, and missions. The rise in technology, which came along with great technological advances, inspired the need for standardized operational requirements.
It began in the late nineteenth century by John Freeman, who developed the idea of water sprinklers. Water was to be used to put out the fire. Freeman improved James Francis’s piped water idea of 1842. Later on, Henry Parmelee of Connecticut was given a patent for the sprinklers. This equipment used pressure to sprinkle water. The sprinkles were made of low fusing material.
C. J Woodbury tested the first automatic sprinkler in 1884. This great innovation served as a build-up to the use of sudden immersion in a steam engine. The Grinnell systems and Freeman’s ideas were instrumental in setting up the NFPA.
The advent of electricity also contributed to the establishment of NFPA. The ideas of Thomas Edison were of great significance as far as the establishment of the organization is concerned. This lamp provided light without depending on the cosmos.
He specified insulation and fusible elements in circuits to enhance protection against overcurrents. He also helped in the establishment of the General Electric Company. This is a leading manufacturing company in modern society.
Five companies formed the National Electrical Code (NEC) in 1897 in the United States and Europe. The organization came up with electrical codes of conduct. These developments had a great effect on the formation of the NFPA. The NFPA borrowed a lot from electric codes, and most of the current ideas date back to 1896, implying that the works of John Freeman are still relied upon. The NFPA was started to help reduce casualties related to fire within commercial and residential buildings. It has had a positive effect on society.
Elements of the Fire code
The fire code is also referred to as the Fire safety rule. Others view it as the Fire Protection code. These sets of rules prescribe the basic rules for fire and other hazard prevention. Fire prevention officers in the respective fire departments in various municipalities apply the rules when dealing with fire incidents. The rules aim at preventing fires, ensuring strict adherence to architectural designs, and availing training equipment to firefighters.
Inspection and maintenance of fire protection equipment is also a role of the fire prevention officers. Other stakeholders in the fire fighting industry include administrative officers who make and enforce the bylaws. Supervision of firefighters and firefighting equipment in all firms fall under the jurisdiction of the organization. The organization also issue licenses to enforce specific safety precautions.
Fire fighting officials undertake inspection practices using various techniques. For instance, they check whether the fire fighting equipment is easily accessed. They also record the building’s address, location, accessibility, and visibility. Inspecting potential hazardous situations and locating the position of post indicator valves are some of the roles of officers.
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Moreover, the officers inspect the condition of sprinklers and connect any loose pipes. The inspection processes are laid down nationally and are adopted by individual municipalities. This is important to ensure that there are similarities in the whole country. This will ensure that costs of maintenance are reduced as the officers in charge of the maintenance can be hired at a national level. They will move from one municipality to another, trying to ensure that the project is operating maximally. The management will also be able to compare the overall cost of the project with that of another project that was initially initiated.
Appeals process of the code enforcement
An administrative board hears the appeals. These hearings are not exposed to the public. A complainant who is required to file an appeal form makes a submission. The board analyses the issues mentioned in the complaint and through discussion, it reaches a conclusion via consensus. The decisions arrived at are communicated to the appellants in an email.
Appeals are only reconsidered in case fresh information is submitted. The Board of Appeals undertakes further hearings in case the appellants are not satisfied with the results of the administrative board. The Board of Appeals consists of qualified individuals who offer expert opinion on the matter. It is commonly referred to as the Big Board.
The board sits on a need basis. Alternatively, it also sits on Wednesday every fortnight. The board is voluntary and therefore there are no charges in the process. Decisions made by this board are binding to the respective appellants (Thomson, 2001). This is because the board members are drawn from professional boards such as the electricity board. The impact of the board has been positive. It has managed to come up with various policies that have improved the efficiency of this body.
Brannigan, F. & Corbett, G. (2008). Brannigan’s building construction for the fire service. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
LeClaire, J. (2005). Construction with print reading advice. New York: Cengage Learning.
Stern, E. & Newlove, L. (2004). Auckland Unplugged coping with Critical Infrastructure Failure. Lanham, MD: Lexington.
Sturtevant, T. (2005). Introduction to Fire Pump Operations. Clifton Park, NY: Thompson Delmar Learning.
Thomson, N. (2001). Fire Hazards in Industry. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.