Why is providing adequate means of egress in restaurant settings important?

April 12, 2023

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

According to an NFPA study, there are hundreds of fires in eating and drinking establishment settings each year. These fires result in scores of injuries and some deaths. Property damage amounts to tens of millions of dollars yearly, as well.

Having adequate means of egress in the event of a fire or other emergency is crucial for these venues. NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code, requires that means of egress shall be “maintained free of all obstructions or impediments . . .” Listed panic hardware on doors is also required.

People with disabilities are especially vulnerable in these situations, so strict adherence to the code is necessary.

During day to day operations, some establishments lose track of these important safety rules. They may inadvertently block exits and have inadequate panic hardware on exit doors. Inspections by the appropriate AHJ – Authority Having Jurisdiction – help identify these and other hazards so mitigation measures can be implemented.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

Blocked restaurant exit and no panic hardware on the door.