EXITS: Since heat and smoke rises, it is obsurd to have codes that just require EXIT signs and emergency lights over the doors or at door height.
(1) Fire EXIT signs, at a minimum, should be both over the exits and at the floor. At optimum, EXIT DOORS should be lit all around their openings.... and an appropriated directional sound should direct any person blinded by smoke to them where the EXIT lights will eventually guide them out. Further, if it is appropriate for aircraft carrier and runways to have guiding lights for pilots and highways to have centerline reflectors to guide drivers, it is not unreasonable to expect that EXIT paths have similar guiding lights to safety.
(2) EXITS should be color coded to describe the journey beyond them.
- BRIGHT GREEN = OPEN EXIT directly opens to fresh air and open area.
- BRIGHT YELLOW = INDIRECT EXIT means that there is an internal journey -- specified in feet below the "INDIRECT EXIT" -- before a OPEN EXIT.
- BRIGHT RED = NO EXIT -- closet, pantry, etc.
OPEN EXIT / INDIRECT EXIT. (Using Direct and Indirect could cause confusion in obscuring smoke, so direct should not be used twice with two opposite meanings.)
And while on the subject... restrooms should have either windows or an alarmed emergency push-out panel into an area other than the door into the restroom. Most bathrooms are death traps (and bodies are often found in them) since they have no secondary exit.
ESCAPE: While it is true that the heat of a fire can be a non-survivable 1200 F or more at standing height, but survivable levels at the floor level, it is very unlikely in a fire with a crowd that crawling is anything but a death sentance from crush trauma, even if the fire jumps over you. In the case of The Station, there was both a dropped ceiling and an even lower ceiling beyond the stage/dance area. This height reduction only exacerbated the proximity of heat and smoke for the people escaping.
IN A COUNTRY THAT REQUIRES COMPANIES TO POST SIGNS FOR WAGE LAWS, EMPLOYEES WASHING THEIR HAND, AND OTHER MATTERS... PLUS, IN THE SAME COUNTRY THAT COSTS FIRMS UNTOLD MILLIONS DUE TO FAMILY LEAVE LAW ABUSES, EEO INTERVIEWING RECORD-KEEPING, ETC...
WE COME TO THE IRONY
WHERE AN ESTABLISHMENT THAT IS OUT OF CURRENT CODE
IS NOT REQUIRED TO INFORM ITS PATRONS OF THIS CODE VIOLATION STATUS.
THIS IS NUTS!
The following should be posted conspicuously on entrances, table tents and menus:
The Scarlet Letter
THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS OPERATING UNDER GRANDFATHER CLAUSES, OR CODE VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH WE HAVE BEEN SITED THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN REMEDIED.
CURRENTLY, OUR (DECLARATIONS FOLLOW SUCH AS WIRING, KITCHEN, FIRE SUPPRESSION ) DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE MOST RECENT CODE WHICH HAS BEEN ADOPTED BY PROPER AUTHORITY FOR YOUR PROTECTION.
BY REMAINING IN THIS BUILDING, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT THE RISK/S AND WAIVE ANY RIGHTS TO SUE THE OWNER OR ISSUING AUTHORITY IF INJURY OR DEATH DIRECTLY RELATING TO THIS NON-COMPLIANCE BEFALL YOU OR YOUR PROPERY.
We all know that in our competitive capitalistic society, the businesses that would have to post this notice, regardless of any grandfathering, will be out of business. The ones that cannot afford to comply should be out of business, or at least comforted by the fact that they will not be sued by foolhearty patrons that remain loyal. However, should an owner fail to post such a sign when required s/he, or they, will immediately and permanetly loose their licenses to serve food and/or drinks, provide entertainment, and allow people to gather. End of Story!
As for the adult patrons, they will have been warned. Places primarily serving youths will not even have this option to post a Scarlet Letter... they will be shuttered until violations / grandfathered clauses are corrected.