Why is it so important to keep fire exits clear?

It is easy to spot a fire hazard in a pile of flammable materials, but innocuous obstructions are often overlooked.

If you review the most catastrophic fire disasters in terms of death toll over the last 200 years, the one thing they all have in common is that people were unable to escape. Whether it was due to a locked fire door, or a lack of an easy to use fire escape route, the numbers of deaths increases dramatically in the cases where leaving the area quickly is compromised. This is no coincidence.

Life and death decisions

Fire safety is a paramount concern in any building or premises. In the event of an emergency, the ability to evacuate swiftly and safely can make the difference between life and death. Among the various measures implemented to ensure fire safety, one often overlooked yet critical aspect is keeping fire exits clear. In this article, we will explore the reasons why it is essential to maintain unobstructed fire exits and the potential consequences of neglecting this crucial safety practice.

Swift evacuation:

During a fire emergency, time is of the essence. Clear fire exits provide individuals with unimpeded access to safe evacuation routes, allowing them to exit the premises quickly and efficiently. In situations where every second counts, having clutter-free pathways becomes vital for ensuring the well-being of occupants and increasing their chances of survival.

Effective emergency response:

Clear fire exits not only aid the evacuation of individuals but also facilitate the work of emergency responders. Firefighters and rescue personnel rely on unobstructed pathways to access the building and carry out their duties efficiently. By keeping fire exits clear, the response time of emergency services can be significantly reduced, allowing them to mitigate the situation swiftly and potentially save lives.

Minimising panic and congestion:

In moments of crisis, panic and chaos can ensue. Blocked fire exits can amplify the confusion and hinder the orderly evacuation of occupants. People may be trapped or forced to navigate through hazardous obstacles, increasing the risk of injury or loss of life. By maintaining clear fire exits, the potential for panic and congestion is reduced, enabling a more organised and safer evacuation process.

Compliance with Fire Safety Regulations:

Government and building regulations mandate that fire exits be kept clear at all times. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety of occupants and protect against fire hazards. Failure to comply with such requirements can lead to legal consequences, fines, and penalties for building owners or occupants who obstruct fire exits. By prioritising the upkeep of clear fire exits, individuals demonstrate their commitment to fire safety and adhere to legal obligations.

As responsible individuals, it is your duty to ensure fire exits remain free from obstructions, thereby safeguarding lives and enhancing overall fire safety in our communities.

At Wyvern Risk Management, we specialise in hazard spotting providing you with trusted solutions as risk-based actions. Our Fire Risk Assessment process is third party accredited against the BAFE SP 205 scheme.

If you need any further advice, please give us a call 0800 593 0916 or use the contact form below. 



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