Fire escapes systems are located on the external sides of a building are more than just an eye sore when they are not properly maintained; they are also a major safety risk to the building inhabitants. When a fire escape system is not properly mounted to the side of a building, or if it has pieces missing, or in some cases not properly finished, it poses a risk for those in and around the building in the instance of a fire emergency. In any instance where the fire escape does not meet the maintenance inspection codes for the building, there becomes an increased risk of hazard for both the inhabitants and the property owners of a building. When properly maintained, the fire escape on the sides of your building can become not only more visually appealing, but also a safe route for your building inhabitants to exit safely in a fire emergency.
In order to ensure that your fire escape are maintained properly and are up to inspection codes in your area, it is imperative that regular inspections are ordered and executed. The initial inspection should be within six months of obtaining rights to the property and every 5 years routinely after. By contacting your area inspector and ensuring that your fire escape is properly mounted, built, and finished, it is ensured that your property is up to standard in the instance of a fire. Though inspections commonly come with a fee paid at the owner’s expense, the fee is far less than potential insurance and legal claims that can arise from an unsafe fire escape.
So, how do you ensure that your fire escape is mounted, built, and finished properly?
What does that look like? A functioning fire escape has features such as a sturdy mounting to the wall with tightened bolts, weathered steel or other metal, and a smooth, scraped finish that is free of rust or chipping. In order to ensure that the fire escape is properly mounted, which is the most important step,
Step 1 – Keep your fire escape clean and accessible
It’s important to keep the fire escape and surrounding areas, like the fire escape door, ladders and ground below the final step, are kept clear of all items and debris at all times. If a fire escape is unable to be properly accessed, then it is rendered useless..
Step 2 – Check the hardware quality
Check the quality of the bolts and nuts that connect to the wall of the building. If any are loose, corroded, or weathered, make sure they are replaced with new bolts and nuts and if extra support is needed, to attach metal fixtures underneath for extra support. It is also noted to make sure that any attaching mechanisms (bolts, plates, etc.) are caulked around the edges to avoid the ability for water to enter, which rapidly weathers the fire escape.
Step 3 – Check the finish
Once securely attached, ensuring that all components are attached and leveled is the next step, finishing. All components should be scraped of any rust or signs of weathering and then determined whether a refinish is salvageable or to acquire a new coat in cases of extreme weathering. A proper finish ensures that there is traction for individuals trying to escape down the fire escape in the event of a fire or other emergency.
By ensuring that all external fire escapes are up to inspection standard, the property owner ensures the safety for their tenants, as well as the decreased risk of a citation or penalty by a city inspector.
There are jobs that are best left to professionals, and when you require maintenance and repair work to maintain your fire escapes in good working order, call West Coast Fire Escapes.