I. Reasons & History
Exits must remain clear, unobstructed, and accessible when a building is occupied. The change in the status of any exit shall not be permitted until it has been reviewed by Physical Facilities/Fire Protection & Special Services.
Many large loss of life fires have involved either an inadequate number of exits or obstructed exits. Most notable have been the fire at the Cocoanut Grove in Boston, Massachusetts and the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate,Kentucky. The Cocoanut Grove fire claimed 492 lives in 1942. The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire claimed 165. The large loss of life in both of these fires was due in part to inadequate exits.
II. Laws Affecting Exits
Indiana Code 22-11-17-2 states, "An owner of a public building shall not permit an exit to be locked or obstructed in any manner that denies the public a continuous and unobstructed means of egress while lawfully occupied."
Section 1203 of the Indiana Fire Code states, "Obstructions, including storage, shall not be placed in the required width of a means of egress, except projections as allowed by the Building Code. Means of egress shall not be obstructed in any manner and shall remain free of any material or matter where its presence would obstruct or render the means of egress hazardous."
O.S.H.A. Standard 29 C.F.R. 1910.36 states, "Every required exit, way of approach thereto, and way of travel from the exit into the street or open space, shall be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency."
III. Exit Components