As many parts of our country have barreled right into the winter season it’s time to prepare for the snow and ice that come along with it by discussing means of egress during wintery weather. Many buildings throughout the state include exterior means of egress paths and/or roof access that can be heavily impacted due to inclement weather.
What is means of egress?
Simply put, a typical means of egress is the safe path of travel from inside your building to an exterior public way. Means of egress paths exist in all occupied buildings – think corridors, stairways, exit signs and doors – and are designed to create safe avenues of travel. These pathways provide a continuous route without obstacles, but they often continue past the front door – think steps, sidewalks, alleyways!
The accumulation of snow and ice often has an impact on these important exterior pieces of the means of egress system and it’s important to consider means of egress during wintery weather.
How does this impact me?
The responsibility falls on the building owner to ensure all pathways are maintained in a safe and consistent manner. This becomes a bit more challenging during the winter months when just about anything can happen weather-wise, at any moment!
Whether the snow is falling or was just hurdled towards your building by a plow, the exterior exits of the building could be impacted by the build-up of snow making the exit doors difficult to open. Not only is this highly inconvenient but can be very dangerous during an emergency. What’s going on at ground level can be easier to pay attention to but the roof can often be a forgotten area where the accumulation of snow and ice can impact roof access and/or equipment access.
Safe Walking Surfaces
Ice forming on exterior stairs or pathways outside the building is another major issue. It is important to keep walking surfaces free and clear, whether that means chipping away at 2” of chunky ice, or salting to eliminate that slick, slippery and dangerous smooth, icy surface.
What can I do?
Ensuring there are personnel in place to plow, shovel and de-ice near exits, main entrances, parking lots, etc., is extremely important – and often needed unexpectedly! If certain areas are consistently an issue, options can include installing overhangs, using grated treads, or even incorporating heated slabs outside main doors to help ensure the means of egress is maintained throughout the winter season.
Not really sure where your egress paths are? Call your friendly consultant and we are happy to help!
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