Exit Discharges

All exits must discharge to a safe place of refuge outside the building, such as an exit court or public way at ground level. An exit court may be a courtyard, patio,

Exit Discharge Building

Figure 43-1 Fire exit stairs.

Light shines down onto floor below doorway.

Universal housing allows ceiling, wall, or end mounting.

Figure 43-2 Exit signs.

Clear acrylic lens panel is edge lit by LEDs.

Light shines down onto floor below doorway.

Clear acrylic lens panel is edge lit by LEDs.

Long-life LEDs are energy efficient.

AC status lamp and test switch

Long-life LEDs are energy efficient.

or exterior vestibule, connecting the exterior exit door to the public way. A public way is a street, alley, or similar parcel of land open to the sky and permanently available for free passage and use of the general public. Small alleys or sidewalks less than 3 meters (10 ft) wide are not considered public ways, and become exterior exit discharges connecting the exterior exit door to a larger alley, sidewalk, or street.

The exit discharge is the part of a means of egress that connects the exit with the public way, typically on the ground floor of a building. The width of the exit discharge is determined by the width of the exit it supports and the handicapped access requirements. If more than one exit opens into an exit discharge, the width is the sum of the various exits' requirements. A minimal ceiling height of 244 cm (8 ft) is typical.

In the main building lobby, the distance between the door of an exit stair and the exterior door is considered to be an exit discharge. A foyer or vestibule—a small enclosure on the ground floor of a building between the end of a corridor and the exterior exit door— can be part of an exit discharge. If the size of such an enclosure is kept to the minimum, the codes may not require a high fire rating. A larger enclosure may be considered an exit passageway, requiring a higher rating.

Sometimes, in older buildings, an exit stair empties into the ground floor without a fire-rated exit passageway connecting the exit stairs to the exterior door. In this case, a corridor may become an exit discharge. This is not recommended, and is allowed only in a sprin-klered building.

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