Protection of Fire Escapes

Peter Lagomarsino June 29, 2018

Residential fire escapes: reasons you need to protect them


Everyone knows not to use elevators in a fire accident and to use fire escapes instead. But what happens if the exit is blocked? It’s simple: nobody will be able to get out! While commercial buildings are usually constructed with the emergency exits as one of the key aspects, many residential buildings often fail to adhere by the guidelines and may become dangerous in case of fire.

Also, it can be seen that many residential fire escapes are poorly maintained or are filled with unused items, like damaged workstations, garbage containers, boxes—all of which do nothing but increase the risk of potential hazards. Fire escapes, by any means, must not be forgotten about or improperly protected; this can slow down the progression of reaching a safe place. Unfortunately, the importance of clear home fire escapes isn’t often realized until they are completely inaccessible during a fire accident.

Here’re some key reasons why facility managers of residential buildings need to consider these escapes as lifesaving tools and protect them from getting blocked.

Promote Quick Escape

These exits provide additional means to escape a building in case of a fire. When a building has a significant number of residents, it becomes quite normal for a traffic jam to occur when everyone tries to exit the building all at once, slowing down the pace of evacuation. With exit routes clearly available, people can leave quickly; thus, decreasing the risk of death or injury significantly.

Avert the Spread of Fire

Properly maintained domestic fire escapes also help avert a fire from spreading as they act like impenetrable barriers. Hence, not only do they lower the rate of injuries and save lives, but also mitigate the damage to a building, thus saving a significant amount of money on expensive repairs.

Act as Another Exit

During a fire, main exits often get blocked or jammed by the evacuees. A fire escape can act as an alternative exit route, enabling people to get out smoothly, even when the main doors become impassable.

Unquestionably, the most crucial step to protecting the dwellers of a building is to avert a fire from happening. But, if one does break out, de-cluttered exit paths seem to be the greatest lifesavers. Most of the items that obstruct a fire escape are either put down and forgotten about, or simply improperly placed, any of which can threaten the lives of dwellers greatly. After all, almost everything can be replaced except for lives.

Have you ever experienced a blocked fire escape? What did you do? Share with me in the comments section below. You can also visit my  FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads profiles to keep the conversation going. Be sure to check my book The Fire Escape to know more about fire escapes.


Maurer, Caroline. “Fire Safety Resource Guide.” The SafeWise Report (blog), May 15, 2017.

Steadfast Safety Services. “Why Is It Important to Keep Emergency Exits Clear?” May 15, 2017.


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Peter J. Lagomarsino

About the Author

Peter J. Lagomarsino is the author of Confessions in a Crown Vic where he discussed the last century’s development and offered his take on the “American Dream.” He’s the creative dire . . . read more

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