Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Dec 11 2013

WW: Ice Time

This photo, from an ice arena, gives me the chills.  Ice rinks are notoriously difficult locations for doors and hardware…lots of abuse, often a high occupant load, humidity and corrosion issues, and other contributing factors.  In case you don’t see the problem right away, look at the top of the mullion.  Angle brackets have been bolted to each door, and there is a pin inserted through one bracket, through the mullion, and through the other bracket.  Someone trying to exit through these doors would likely have no idea why they won’t open.

What would you do if you saw this “security solution”?

Ice Rink Pair

Thank you to Jim Hooker for the photo!

9 Responses to “WW: Ice Time”

  1. Chuck says:

    If I saw that type of “lock”, I would:
    A.) Leave the arena, or at least leave the area that would need egress through that door.
    B.) Notify the building management that this is an egregious violation
    C.) Notify the municipality’s Fire Marshall and/or Code Enforcement Dept.

    I dropped a dime on a local 1,500 seat theater that had chains and padlocks on the crossbars of five out of six double exit door assemblies at the front of the theater during a sold-out performance. They don’t do that anymore.

  2. Jerry Austin says:

    1. Immediately remove the pin. Means of egress must be kept available at all time for immediate use in case of an emergency. Not all emergencies are fires either. The hardware did not get the name “Panic” for nothing.
    2. Contact someone in charge of the building and discuss the situation.
    3. Depending on their reaction, stop back periodically to check they got the message or if not picture the violation and e-mail it and the location to the local fire or building officials.

    I may have related this before, if so, here it is again. I got a call from the Fire Chief one evening. He wanted me to accompany him the the University Field House where the State Basketball final game was in progress. A citizen had called the Police department to report that of the roughly 7 pair of egress doors, there were chains wrapped around the panic bars in all but one pair. The Field House was well beyond capacity with people sitting in the aisles and along the sidelines and and packed bleachers. We arrive and requested a meeting with the person in charge of the building. We were told he was not in the building and they did not know how to contact him. The chief told the responding person that the chains needed to come off immediately. He was told they could not do that because they needed the exits blocked for control and besides they did not have keys to the padlocks. The chief said: Either they come off or I will walk out into the middle of the basketball court and inform everyon they need to quietly make their way outside.” It was obvious the person responding to us was unable to act on the situation. The Chief asked me to go out to the fire station wagon and get a key. I asked him: “You have a key to these padlocks, Charley?” He motioned with his hands as if using a bolt cutter and I caught the message. We did cut them all off, contact the University in the morning and never saw another problem of this nature. As a post script about 3 weeks later, during a college game, the Field House had to be evacuated in a hurry as a fire broke out in the locker room area and smoke rapidly became visible. At least there were no impediments to the means of egress that night. I would say take immediate action always with unsafe use of facilities.

  3. Andy Swanson says:

    #2 and 3 above!

  4. Marvin Kemp says:

    I agree with Jerry – you have to pull the pin first. I’m an architect and have sworn an oath to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. I would photograph the situation first, but that pin would leave the building with me!

    Building management has to be contacted next and then the local code official. In Maryland, I would probably go to the Office of the State Fire Marshal because I’m not sure the local guys have the personnel to enforce this sort of thing, depending on the local jurisdiction.

    Fortunately, I have not encountered anything like this, but the discussion at dinner tonight did revolve around why the science labs in my daughter’s brand new high school have 2 doors when the regular classrooms have just 1 door!

  5. Cda says:

    Have emptied a few clubs, fun some times

  6. cda says:

    visit the other arenas that is owned by same owner and see if it is a common problem!

Leave a Reply