The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Means of Escape – Part 132

January 17, 2022 12:38 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 131, LWF continued looking at Stage 3 of the three stages of escape, which is vertical travel down a stairway. In part 132, we discuss final exits from the premises.

Each escape route from a building leads to a final exit from the building. There are common requirements for final exits from a building, as follows:

  • All exits should be signposted, unless obvious
  • Exits should open easily for any building occupant
  • Revolving doors are not normally acceptable as a final exit, a normal door should also be provided when revolving doors are in place.
  • Wicket doors, goods delivery shutters, up and over doors etc. are not suitable final exit doors except in very specific and restricted circumstances where a small number of staff members are involved (less than 10). Members of the public should never need to exit through these types of doors.
  • After passing through the final exit, it must be possible for persons evacuating to get away from the building.
  • Final exits must be clear of any obstruction at all times, in common with all areas comprising exit routes from a building.

Escape from fire vs security

It is commonly imagined that there is a conflict between the requirements for building security and those for a safe escape from fire. It is certainly true that effective security measures require secure entrance and exit doors, whereas fire exits must be accessible at all times in case of a fire emergency.

Potential conflicts between the two sets of requirements are rarely unsolvable and can almost always be overcome. In fact, poor security is a fire risk in itself, the risk of arson increases when the security of a building is neglected. A high level of security can, therefore, contribute to fire safety.

There are certain types of buildings where the safety of the building occupants relies on building security and to override security concerns to provide an environment in which people can more easily evacuate the building would, in fact, be more dangerous for them.

In part 133 of this series, LWF will continue to look at how building security and fire safety should work together to protect the premises and occupancy. 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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