What's (dead) wrong with this picture?

At first glance, you might not think there's anything wrong with this picture. But scroll down...


This is the exit door on the ground floor from a set of fire stairs at a hotel where I stayed last week. That door opens into a hallway, across the way from a door that opens to the outdoors.

Can you imagine what could happen if there were a fire and a swarm of people came hurrying down the stairs all at once, trying to escape? If the first person to this door weren't fast enough (or careful about where they stood), you could have a bunch of people piled up against this door trying to get out, but unable to open it inward against the crush of people.

I'm told by people who spent a career in firefighting that this is a big violation of fire codes -- that shouldn't be a handle that turns in, but rather a panic bar that lets the door swing out with ease.

Do you pay attention to these things when you're in unfamiliar places, or am I just paranoid? Seems to me like this is the kind of shoddy attention to important details that can get people killed.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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