Are the EMERGENCY EXITS clear??

With Christmas arriving in the next few days, many retail stores have greatly increased the amount of stock on shelves. Unfortunately, some businesses may go overboard and place products and/or packing materials in emergency exits. Restricted, or blocked, emergency exits have been contributors to great loss of life during fires. When this problem is identified, firefighters must quickly notify the store manager and make sure the problem is immediately corrected. If youre not 100% sure about fire codes, speak with your company officer about your findings. If the company officer is not sure, NOTIFY THE FIRE MARSHAL or FIRE INSPECTOR and work with him/her to correct the problem!

Here are some photos Ive taken in various locations around the country. A short explanation accompanies each photo.

Photo #1: Blocked exit. Beyond the blocking, these smaller items will become tripping hazards for people exiting the building. Move the trash! (Extra points for you if you noticed the pile of trash impedes access to the fire extinguisher.)

photo by author

Photo #2: Blocked emergency exit. In this photo, an emergency exit has been blocked by store employees. No store employees were present to quickly move the blocking device. This emergency exit is very wide and designed to move large numbers of people to safe areas. Note the items intruding into the exit access.

photo by author

Photo #3: Blocked exit discharge. Emergency exits must lead building evacuees to a safe area. This emergency exit discharge is significantly restricted by the automobile; as evacuees come upon the vehicle, they slow evacuation! (Super-extra points if you noticed this emergency exit is too narrow for code and is a ROLL-UP door!!)

photo by author

Be a proponent of fire safety whenever you are out in the community, whether on, of off, duty. Company officers: share emergency exit information with your crew. Ask the crew if anyone has ever found an obstructed or blocked exit? If so, how did he/she handle the problem? Let your crew know what the departments policy is for blocked emergency exits.

Stay safe! ~EMAGUY


  • steve says:

    In picture 3 why would you condisered it ever an exit

  • EMAGUY says:


    Thank you for stopping by the site and commenting! This exit is considered an emergency exit because it’s labeled as an emergency exit. The exit access double doors have a lighted “EXIT” sign above them and the second set of doors leading outside are also labeled “EXIT”. Oh yeah, I forgot to say the second set of doors have another placard under the “EXIT”: COMPRESSED GAS STORAGE AREA! Also, think the car in the exit discharge was bad? Last week, a pallet laden with printer paper was sitting inside the exit!

    Yes, it’s hard to figure out why the building has these features and still uses this area for emergency egress. The people working in this building are professionals, are provided annual safety training (including emergency exit info), have a very capable safety management group, and the building receives an annual Life Safety Code walkdown by the fire department.

    Currently, I’m working on an explanatory document and will send the document to the facility fire chief. I’m sure the chief will have a “face palm” moment!

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at

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