Was looking around for ways to clean egg off the house and
saw an 'exit' sign post.... which peak my interest in this
question that I have asked for years.
I've been in two fires. One in a dorm where someone's candle
fell on LP records, another where a guys bed caught on fire.
In both cases the black silky smoke that these fires
created, especially that LP blaze, rose to the ceiling
and completely blocked well lighted exit signs. You
couldn't see a trace.
I've always thought that fire exit signs belonged on the
floor. I've recently seen some there in Hotels. Is this
code yet? Exit signs above the door are worthless in a fire,
at least in my experience.
This is a little off-topic for a.h.r. but an interesting question.
I remember seeing exit signs mounted about a foot off the floor
somewhere too; I think it was in Japan about 7 years ago. I don't think
I've seen them in the U.S. or Canada. I have no idea what US or
Canadian code says, but certainly among the safety aware there is wide
awareness that the top part of any space becomes think with smoke as a
However, there are counterarguments. Much evacuation is done well
before the smoke spreads, and even for reasons other than fire (bomb
threats, personal security threats); and low-level exit signs are
blocked from view by crowds, debris and furniture. Obviously a simple
solution is to have them in both spots.
I think the stock response is to take note of the exits when you enter
a room, memorize the little maps on the back of your room door, etc.
I'd like to see a standard scheme to distinguish emergency-only exits
(opening door triggers alarm, or door unlocks only if alarm is
triggered) from routine ways out.
How is this for bazaar. AFter the World Trade Center
disaster I often thought about putting a couple hundred
feet of rope, gloves and a hammer in my suitcase.
I haven't felt comfortable in a hotel room from which I
can't jump for years. Paranoia?
And with that I leave it. :-)
Chip C wrote:
There's a growing consensus that a near-to-floor location would provide
better exit-sign visibility under the conditions that you describe. The
Lighting Research Center did some visibility research on the subject and you
can find it at: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu /
But, as you can imagine, there are years-old practices to consider. People
are used to looking up, not down, for exit information so any changes are
likely to take some time or involve signs in both locations. In the US,
local codes determine such practices with guidance and standards from the
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Personally, I dont need a sign to tell me where an exit is. I just
look for a thing called a DOOR. Easily identified by a doorknob with
a special feel. I have always thought that a special door knob on
doors that exit to the outside would make more sense. That way you
dont end up in a closet or some other interior room during a fire.
This of course applies to commercial buildings. In a home, it's
pretty obvious where the outside doors are, unless you live in a huge
To the OP of this thread, you ought to be ashamed of yourself burning
those LP records. Good music going up in smoke :)
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