Instances of people in multi-family housing, such as apartments, dying from missteps in the fire escape inspection process never get easier to read. Understanding that older buildings do not all come fashioned with emergency fire escape ladders, or even internal methods of safety such as sprinklers and functional alarms calls to question how fire escape certification can be awarded to a building and declared safe for inhabiting. While these posts focus on emergency fire escapes, namely fire exit stairs and their varying forms, it is also important to remember the importance of ensuring the inside of a building is also in compliance with fire codes.
In this story, tenants of the building relied on automatic closing doors to keep space between them and a fire. No sprinkler, no emergency escape ladders for balconies, or any other kind of external fire escape. Without sprinklers in the building, there was not a fire escape system in place to keep tenants safe. Many fell victim to deadly smoke that rose up. With this property being a high rise, smoke ascended, and tenants on the upper-levels who did not have access to external fire escape stairs, died as a result of poor fire escape regulations. This is an opportunity for property owners to consider their fire escape maintenance and make the necessary updates, especially in older buildings, to ensure that tenants have both internal safety measures, as well as external fire escapes to get to safety.
Older buildings keep a historic value to the cities they are built in, but the upkeep of fire escape regulations must be kept in modern times to comply with building codes. Property owners must be vigilant in ensuring they are in current compliance with both internal and external fire safety measures.