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Dec 30 2010

Swimming Pool Egress

Category: EgressLori @ 12:28 am Comments (8)

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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8 Responses to “Swimming Pool Egress”

  1. Wayne Ficklin says:

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Ignorance is bliss or is it?

  2. Charles says:

    Tell the fam that checking out doors pays for the fancy swimming pool they get to play in

    Yes the mermaid door should have an exit sign above it!! My guess this is how guests go in and out, so they are a little trained on where that door is

    Do not have much problem with the other doors, at least the deck chairs are not in front of them!!!

    Would tell them to take down or move the rope though

    • Lori says:

      That’s exactly what I tell my family!

      Yes, the guests enter and exit through the mermaid door but it would need panic hardware as well as the exit sign, don’t you think?

  3. Charles says:

    Forgot some thought they were exits because they put pull stations next to them

  4. Charles says:

    So-called main exits are not required to have panic hardware.

    Problem forever is “main entrance” is not defined anywhere.

    • Lori says:

      I need to clarify this one…panic hardware is not required on the main exit if the exit is in compliance with section 1008.1.9.3, item 2 (2009 IBC). This is the section that allows double-cylinder deadlocks – here’s the complete text of the section:

      2. In buildings in occupancy Group A having an occupant load of 300 or less, Groups B, F, Mand S, and in places of religious worship, the main exterior door or doors are permitted to be equipped with key-operated locking devices from the egress side provided:
      2.1. The locking device is readily distinguishable as locked;
      2.2. A readily visible durable sign is posted on the egress side on or adjacent to the door stating: THIS DOOR TO REMAIN UNLOCKED WHEN BUILDING IS OCCUPIED. The sign shall be in letters 1 inch (25 mm) high on a contrasting background; and
      2.3. The use of the key-operated locking device is revokable by the building official for due cause.

      I don’t see this allowed in Assembly too often here, it’s mostly used in Business occupancies. There are too many gray areas in this language and most of the time when I see a deadlock on the main entrance, it doesn’t meet the requirements for signage and being readily distinguishable as locked. The fact that the AHJ can revoke it for due cause is enough for most people to make peace with the idea of a panic.

  5. Ed Owen says:

    Doggable rim panic devices solve a multitude of problems in cases like these. It looks as if none of the doors open to the outside of the building, so the need for security is lessened a bit. There is the matter of pool safety, but in a setting like a motel, it is unlikely that hooligans will be trying to break into the pool area. Combine with guest card activated access control, and the doors can remain locked from the outside all the time. There is always a safe solution, but often times budgets and aesthetics take precedence.

  6. Douglas HIcks says:

    The plastic chain is probably a misguided attempt to allow a means to quickly remove the rope in an emergency situation.

    The rope may be because the rise and run of the concrete steps does not appear to meet code. The steps may have been poured before the deck was poured.

    The exit lights should be above the exit, especially with the confusing array of windows that look like the doors.

    Exit and emergency lights are available for use in damp areas. They cost more, but last longer in pool areas. The chlorine gas is corrosive.

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