With the holidays just around the corner and winter now in full swing, everyone is distracted by the change in weather as well as finding the perfect gifts for loved ones. During this time of the year, the most important gift of all: safety is commonly overlooked. During the winter, especially in northern states, ice, snow, and other freezable accumulation can pose as a dangerous threat to those in the area. It is highly likely that doors and ladders on houses and businesses will become frozen and be rendered unable to be used properly. While the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and travel have many distracted, it is your time to be vigilant in making sure that the safety of yourself and any inhabitants of your building are held to the highest standard by ensuring that all fire escape doors and fire escape ladders are kept up to inspection standard and stay free of accumulated ice or snow, which can pose as a life-threatening factor in the case of an emergency exit situation.
External fire escapes and their maintenance are things that should be kept an eye on throughout the winter season. Fire marshals and other building inspectors are tightening up on their standards for fire ladder and fire door safety. Since these doors and ladders are not used on a daily basis in most home or business functions, they are often overlooked by property owners and can easily accumulate snow or ice, thus eventually rendering the doors and ladders unable to be used due to the large amount of accumulation on them. It is important that any fire escape ladders are regularly scraped of ice so that the amount is manageable and does not become too thick. Fire escape doors should also be treated with the same care. These doors should be tested for functionality as frequent as the area receives snow or ice. With precipitation freezing and re-freezing, these areas should be kept dry and any standing ice should be chipped away so that more does not build on top of it.
With both fire escape doors and fire escape ladders being made from metal (which withstands weathering better than most materials), the chance of ice or snow sticking to them is higher due to their adaptability to different temperatures. If the temperature in a given area falls below freezing for an amount of time, the temperature of the metal will drop as well, causing any ice or snow to stick to it as opposed to melting and rolling off as rain. There are treatments available on store shelves that can help reduce the amount of ice and snow that stick to these surfaces, but they are not enough. The responsibility lies upon the property owner in ensuring that any fire escape doors and ladders are properly maintained and kept up to any fire marshal or landlord regulations and standards. These areas should be visited on a regular basis and checked on schedule for functionality and quality of safety.
Your safety is important to us, and this simple check and upkeep can ensure that both you and your building inhabitants will have a safe, happy holiday season.