The kids have been enjoying the very cool indoor wave pool in our hotel, and I, of course, have been checking out the swimming pool egress. My family thinks I’m weird, but what do they know?
The pool enclosure has an area of 8,200 square feet, and swimming pools are considered Assembly occupancies. According to the IBC, you would calculate the occupant load by dividing the pool area by 50 square feet per person, and the pool deck by 15 square feet per person (Table 1004.1.1 in the 2009 edition). Since the occupant load is less than 500 people, 2 exits are required (Table 1021.1), and the distance between them must be at least 1/2 the diagonal measurement of the area, or 1/3 the diagonal measurement if the building is fully sprinklered (1015.2.1). My husband threatened to hold my head under water if I whipped out my tape measure, so I’ll have to assume that the exits are properly located.
There are 3 doors in the pool enclosure:
- The main entrance is an aluminum storefront door with a sidelite, which has a deadbolt (and a mermaid). I’m assuming that this door is not one of the required means of egress, because it doesn’t have panic hardware and it doesn’t have an exit sign.
- The only code-compliant exit is one of the bays in the wall of windows. From the photos it looks like there are two such bays, but the exit sign near the seated lifeguard has a little arrow pointing to the door behind the standing lifeguard. The bay near the seated lifeguard is not a door. In my opinion, the exit isn’t that obvious, considering that it looks like all the other window bays plus there’s the added confusion of the two exit signs.
- The third door is around behind the shipwreck and the discharge for the water slides, and it’s roped off with plastic chain. It has an exit sign and a panic device, but the chain’s a problem. (BTW…We lost power during a snowstorm and there were no emergency lights in the pool area, so the lifeguards had to get everyone out of the water using two penlights.)
It’s becoming more and more obvious that John Q. Public doesn’t understand the requirements for fire doors or egress doors. The doors may be correct when they’re installed, but then JQP comes along and modifies the door improperly or fails to maintain it correctly. How can we educate them? Any ideas?
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