People have often asked me what I recommend or what the model codes say about securing doors against elopement. The International Building Code (IBC), the International Fire Code (IFC), and NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code address acceptable methods to deter elopement from schools and health care facilities, but the International Residential Code (IRC) does not include prescriptive requirements to deter elopement from 1- and 2-family homes.
Families of children with autism and caretakers of adults with dementia often face difficulties while trying to keep their loved ones safe. Free egress is critical but could allow elopement, where the person leaves home unaccompanied. A Minnesota assistant state fire marshal who is also the father of a child with autism offers some good suggestions in this story from Fox9 News: