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How many escape routes are needed?

Guest Anne

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I work in an office on the first floor within a large building, part of which is an hotel. We have had 'plan' signs put up on our doors indicating only ONE escape route which is the one we would normally use to come into the office. Am I right in thinking that there should be an alternate route shown on the plan? I am used to seeing a more comprehensive map on the back of hotel doors - should this be the case for an office as apparently the fire warden says the current sign is sufficient.
Many thanks

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Hi Anne

By 'plan' signs I am assuming you mean plan drawings and they are not a requirement only if the responsible person (RP) decides to use them.

The RP must ensure that his employees are provided with adequate safety training. The training referred must include suitable and sufficient instruction and training on the appropriate precautions and actions to be taken by the employee in order to safeguard staff and other relevant persons on the premises.

If the RP decides to use plan drawings as part of the procedure to instruct the employees what to do in the event of a fire then he/she can, but why show only the primary MoE, the normal route used daily, if an alternative means of escape (MoE) is required, it would be just as important if not more to indicate these routes.

Alternative MoE routes are not always required it depends on the layout of your premises and the travel distance to a place of comparative safety or to the outside of the building. If everybody can get to a place of comparative safety within 18 m, for an office, then you do not require an alternative MoE. If it is more than 18 m then you would need an alternative MoE.

A place of comparative safety is a protected route which is a corridor, lobby or staircase protected by 30/60 mins of fire resistant construction and fire doors.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Fire escape routes in everyday use do not need to be signed because all employees will be familiar with the way out however if you allow access to the general public you may need some signing. All alternate escape routes not familiar to your employees should be signed and any doors on the escape routes that could be blocked accidental should have signs to prevent this.

Check out section 6 in download https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-offices-and-shops and http://www.safelincs.co.uk/fire-safety-signs-interactive-guide/

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