The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Means of Escape for Disabled People – Part 146

April 11, 2022 12:09 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 145, LWF considered the necessary evacuation arrangements for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In part 146, we discuss the need to check means of escape.

The means of escape provision provided for a building should be checked on a regular basis, e.g. daily or weekly. The task is not an onerous one but it should be carried out by someone who has undergone basic training to recognise potential issues. In a building which has patrolling security personnel, this task can be ideally allocated to them, as they will be able to monitor the means of escape provision on a very regular basis.

A simple checklist can be compiled with the main points of what should be checked. For example:


  • Are exits from the room unimpeded?
  • Are any vision panels in inner rooms unobstructed?


  • Are they clear, free of storage or rubbish and potential fire risks?
  • If they are protected, is the protection maintained and undamaged?
  • Are cross-corridor doors adequately self-closing and released in the event of fire if held open?
  • Are cross-corridor doors not wedged open?
  • Do the doors fit well in their frames?
  • Are the doors undamaged and well-maintained?

Protected Stairways

  • Is the fire protection maintained?
  • Are they clear of rubbish, storage, blockages or any fire risks?
  • Are all doors self-closing and released in the event of fire (if held open normally)?
  • Are no doors wedged open?
  • Do all doors fit the frames adequately and are they undamaged?

Final Exits

  • Are all final exits accessible?
  • Do the final exit doors open easily?
  • Are final exits free of obstructions outside the premises?
  • Is it possible for occupants to exit the building and disperse away from it?

A more thorough examination of means of escape should be undertaken periodically – quarterly may be appropriate. This assessment should check:

  • That no unsuitable wall or ceiling linings have been erected
  • That fire stopping above false ceilings has not been breached
  • That no changes to internal layout have materially affected means of escape
  • That there is no route for smoke spread around cross-corridor doors.

In part 147 of this series, LWF will begin to look at building construction and structural fire protection. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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