Two myths regarding NFPA 101 Life Safety Code debunked

NFPA life safety engineer Ron Coté settles the debate over second egress doors and exit signs.

June 18, 2015 |
Two myths regarding NFPA 101 Life Safety Code debunked

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In Compliance column in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, Ron Coté, Principal Life Safety Engineer at the National Fire Protection Agency, debunks two myths regarding NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

The first myth is that all assembly occupancy rooms with an occupancy load more than 50 must have a second egress door. This is not true, although many do have second exit access doors “in order not to violate the common path of travel limitation,” Coté writes.

For most room locations and arrangements, a second exit access door from the room can be positioned to provide occupants with a second travel path. The presence of the second exit access door can reduce what would otherwise be an excessive common path of travel to one that is within the permitted distance.

Coté also debunks the myth that exit signs are required at exits only. The signs are actually required in three locations: at exits, in the exit access, and in exit access corridors of new construction. They are required in the exit access when the exit or way to reach the exit is not readily apparent, as might be the case where additional turns in the egress path are needed to reach an exit.

They may also be needed when in exit access corridors of new construction no point is in excess of the particular sign’s rated viewing distance or the 100-foot (30-meter) default value, whichever is less, from the nearest sign.

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