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Answers to your door, hardware, and code questions from Allegion's Lori Greene.
Sep 19 2012
Whatcha think? Is this exit visible enough?
Here’s a closer look at the panic hardware:
Photo sent in by Chris Ostwinkle of DH Pace. Keep them coming!
needs red letters for the exit sign …. and no, the door is not distinguishable from the rest of the wall
I agree with you, but either the code official allowed it, or this part of the facility has not been inspected. Even though code officials have a reputation for being tough, fire and egress door inspectors are more focused on the doors and less likely to let something like this slide.
Definitely the “greenest” door I’ve seen. I guess environmental protection out-weighs life safety. LOL
It is certainly not visible enough but I’d be curious to see how they mounted the exit device to the bamboo. I also agree with Joel – red letters on the exit sign would be better as well as moving it out of the foliage.
I just added a close-up view of the panic hardware. It looks like a Von Duprin 33 that is partially covered with pieces of bamboo, and painted to blend in. I’m surprised they didn’t try to paint the touchpad too. I’m guessing that the code official made them add the signage.
You just have to like the Bamboo veneer with end matching transom and sidelight panels(?), though.
I did not even see the green “Exit” sign hidden over in the bushes or shrubbery until I enlarged the picture.
Looks great, but, I have to agree, it is not visible enough.
Maybe we need to run a class for all of the creative designers that work for the theme parks, zoos, etc. I wonder where they go to school.
Thanks for the close-up shot; definitely a creative use of a 33 device. It also looks like the push bar isn’t half the door width. Maybe since they figure no one will ever find the door that isn’t such a big concern. (:
I am sure that the monkeys will have no problem getting out.
1. I would say depends on what area this door serves. Sometimes panic hardware is added even though not needed.
2. Maybe would have asked for paper sign on the door in addition to the lit one.
How did you inspector-types get a reputation for being so demanding? 😀
Can’t tell if this is an interior or exterior – can anyone imagine trying to find this if the room was full of smoke!
After my little kitchen incident a few weeks ago – no, I can’t imagine finding this door in a smokey room.
Also should have said would have tried very hard to get the lit exit sign over the door
Nice find. I am guessing the green exit is due to this being outside North America. Red is used here but not Europe. Still, it should not be covered in plants. Also, I would not accept this door as an exit. The door frame should be visible to visually show the door. This is a much better target than just the push bar.
It was suggested this exit device may not need to comply with code due to where it is. I want to politely disagree. It is a zoo and so a place of public gathering. If it is not needed to be an exit device, then they wasted money on the device as most any cylindrical is cheaper. In fact, I would suspect if this goes into any other building space, I would suspect it is fire rated opening.
Note on fire departments as inspectors. Ours are good but do rise in ranks from fire fighting more often than construction. Not that one route would make better inspectors but mean they have a very different background.
The zoo is in Colorado so they must have special-ordered the exit sign to blend in with the foliage.
Nice planning. Hide it even better.
Also, as a field guy, I hope that is EO or has an IC on the trim. I dread the idea of dismounting that mess just to pull out a rim cylinder for a key change.
What other exits exist? I know that codes, for good reason, prohibit things that might be mistaken for emergency exits but are not usable for such purpose, no matter how many other usable exits there might be, but would hard-to-see secondary exits in excess of required egress capacity pose such a problem? I would think that in something like a zoo, it may be good to have places where staff can shelter guests if e.g. a dangerous animal gets loose; the exit sign might not be intended to say “Use me if you need to leave the building” but rather to provide reassurance “If staff directs you here, you’ll be able to leave via another door”.
I’m not sure what other exits there are from this space, but the fact that there’s an exit sign tells me that this is a required exit and it’s not very visible.
You’re probably right about it being a required exit. Still, I’m curious what role exit visibility has historically played in the outcomes of emergencies in building with sprinkler systems [sprinkler systems do not eliminate the need for egress, but reduce the likelihood that an extra fifteen seconds to find an exit in case of emergency affect the outcome thereof], and also the extent to which it affects how often people improperly try to use an exit in a non-emergency situation.
I’m also curious to what extent people’s ability to find exits is affected by exit signs or by hardware at panic-bar height in cases when there the space between a person and the exit contains no inanimate objects which rise above panic-bar height. Exit signs above doors are essential in cases where rooms contain displays or other objects which would obstruct a person’s view of a panic bar without doing anything to call a person’s attention to it, but would seem less important in rooms which would only be occupied by people.
Finally, I’m curious what you would think of a rule which allowed facilities with suitable fail-safe battery-backed emergency-lighting systems to make their exits less conspicuous when the lighting system wasn’t triggered, provided that maps showing the exits were readily visible to anyone entering a facility (and, for places charging admission at the door, would be posted in places visible to people before and after they pay), the lighting system would make egress doors highly visible in standardized fashion and eliminate any other lighting which might be mistaken for egress doors, and–in cases like theaters or nightclubs where many people would occupy a room for an significant length of time–the lighting system would be demonstrated on a regular basis (e.g. activated for a few seconds during PA announcements either before a show at a theater, or periodically throughout the night at a nightclub).
I would expect that adding an emergency lighting system which e.g. activated green and white light strips on the sides and lintel of each egress door would enhance safety more than would mandating that doors simply look like doors.
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