How safe is the fire escape attached to your building?Nov 17 2015 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN DEAN, Other structural ·0
How safe is the fire escape attached to your building? The City of Portland currently has more than 600 fire escapes that are attached to older buildings and are part of the required emergency egress system or serve as firefighting platforms. Often they are neglected and deterioration can result in these fire escapes becoming unsafe for use by occupants or firefighters during an emergency.
Administrative Rule ARB-FIR-2.08 was adopted by the City of Portland in 2008. The main purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the inspection, evaluation and testing of fire escapes, and to provide information pertaining to the acceptable methods of repair when needed.
Initially, a fire inspector will determine whether or not the fire escape is an “imminent hazard,” including missing pieces, excessive rust jacking at connection joints, or degraded connections to the structure. If the fire escape is not deemed to be an imminent hazard, the building owner will have five years to complete an evaluation of the fire escape by a registered design professional. If deemed an imminent hazard, the evaluation will be ordered immediately by the fire inspector.
The registered design professional will conduct an assessment of the fire escape that involves a structural analysis, in-situ load test or, most likely, a combination of both. Any deficiencies identified during the evaluation process will be mitigated immediately. Once all repairs and assessments are completed, the registered design professional will provide a signed affidavit, stating that the fire escape has been evaluated, all repairs needed have been completed, and the fire escape is structurally safe, as required by the Portland Fire Bureau. The fire escape will then need to be re-evaluated every five years as previously described.
This process can be complicated and requires close attention to detail; that is why you want a firm that has experience performing these assessments. Nishkian Dean is a full-service structural engineering firm that will guide you through this process. Our team will assess the current state of the fire escape, prepare the construction documents detailing the necessary repairs, and develop the load testing procedures needed to certify that the fire escape will be structurally sufficient when it is needed most.