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Jan 28 2015

WW: Don’t Dowel Doors

Category: Egress,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 12:12 am Comments (9)

Paul Elliott sent me these Wordless Wednesday photos of retail egress issues he has run across.  When he mentioned the dowel to a store employee, the employee said, “No problem. We’ll untie it if there’s a fire.”  No joke.

Dowel 1

Dowel 2

Here’s another one…in this case the exit is blocked but also the fire alarm pull station and the fire extinguisher.  According to Paul this is typical for this store.  This got me thinking…I’m POSITIVE that someone from the fire department has seen this door at some point (and many of the other issues that we see), yet the problems remain.  I’m working on some ways to get this community to notice and address these situations but if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Grocery Store Exit

9 Responses to “WW: Don’t Dowel Doors”

  1. Sheldon says:

    Nothing wrong with the first example. The fire will burn through the cord, and the exit device will become usable. If it’s a really big fire, the dowel will burn through, as well.

  2. Rich says:

    The first thing to do is to teach the AHJ to deal with this type of issue. We taught a store to keep their exits clear when the AHJ came in and said to the manager “Tell all of your customers to leave, we are closing your store right now. We will discuss when you can reopen after we discuss the safety issues, but you will close right now.” The store learned to keep the door clear real fast.

  3. Wayne says:

    Your post got me thinking about stores like Wal Mart where they fill the aisles with merchandise. Every time I’m in one of these big box stores I wonder if the exiting width is being maintained throughout. Who checks on them periodically so they are being addressed?

  4. Joe says:

    Lori, have you heard of the WAZE navigation app? It’s getting a lot of attention right now from police and sheriff departments that want them to disable a feature that allows people to warn each other where officers are currently located.

    Maybe you should work on developing an app that allows people to share where they see fire and egress doors that are compromised? We can shame building owners and local inspectors into fixing the issues.

  5. B. Holt says:

    Sheldon, you are right, it is a prime example of a fusible link…hahaha

  6. Joel Niemi says:

    Perhaps sending the photo, along with the store name and date, to the local public safety agency’s “contact us” link, and “I thought you might be interested in this safety problem” could be an approach. I seem to recall Hearing a few years back that Boston set up a number which people could send photos of potholes to, with embedded GPS coordinates, and action happened quickly thereafter

  7. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    Flowers… Dowel rod…. All I can think of is……


  8. Frank Ehrman says:

    Solution #1

    Let’s make sure the font is the correct size per code.


    Solution #2

    Find who put that on the opening, remove dowel and beat them with it!!!

    I personally like #2 better!

  9. David Scott Kenyon says:

    If I had encountered that door on my own – I would have first taken photos as did the Individual who reported this issue. I would have then removed my pocket knife – cut the small rope attachment and removed the wooden rod and simply broken it in half. If questioned on what I was doing – I would have simply have said I am simply preserving the safety of the individuals that frequent this store – nothing more.

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