Facility Egress


Most of the time we are concerned with how to get people into our facilities and off-site programming locations. However, as recent events have tragically illustrated, establishing and maintaining proper egress from these facilities can literally be the difference between life and death. Recent facility visits have identified dysfunctional emergency lighting and EXIT signs, blocked egress pathways, even exit doors that were locked or would not open. The following items should be continuously monitored to ensure the safety of your members. Documentation of the monitoring is necessary to provide internal assurance and external verification.

Egress Access

  • every location within the facility has at least two easily accessible and clearly marked means of egress
  • each means of egress is wide enough to allow unencumbered flow for the intended traffic load
  • no means of egress is blocked or restricted by fitness equipment, vending machines, permanent or temporary storage, or anything else that may cause confusion in a smoke-filled environment
  • fully functional, properly aimed, regularly tested emergency lighting is present for the entire length of each and every egress path
  • fire doors, if present, are either self-closing units held open by smoke-responding devices or are kept closed; wedges, door stops, or other paraphernalia may not be used to hold a door open

Exterior Access

  • no EXIT door is locked with padlock, double-cylinder dead-bolt, or other device that requires a key to exit; any latching mechanism present is readily identified and easily operated
  • every EXIT door is identified by a sign that is appropriately illuminated even during a power failure
  • every EXIT door swings outward and opens fully (i.e., the swing is not restricted or blocked by the individual(s) attempting to exit, or by trash, supplies, vegetation, snow, etc.)
  • every EXIT door serving an area with an occupancy load of 100 or more has panic hardware
  • any delayed egress hardware is clearly identifiable even during a power failure so that the delayed response will not incite panic
  • every door in an egress path that does not lead to the EXIT is identified by where it leads (e.g., “Men’s Restroom” or “Boiler Room”) or is marked “NOT an exit”
  • any pedestrian control device (e.g., turnstile, swing-arm, etc.) present will automatically allow unimpeded traffic flow out of the building in case of an emergency or power failure
  • once outside the building, free and clear access is provided to a public thoroughfare
    • an even, all-weather walking surface is provided to a public sidewalk, street, or parking lot
    • no fence or gate impedes pedestrian travel to the sidewalk, street, or parking lot
    • adequate lighting is available under any condition for people to find their way to safety


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