fire escape
an apparatus or structure used to escape from a burning building, as a metal stairway down an outside wall.
[1670-80]

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Means of rapid egress from a building, primarily intended for use in case of fire.

Building codes define an exit as an enclosed and protected path of escape in the event of a fire, leading from an exit access through a combination of corridors, stairways, and doors to an exit discharge at an exterior court or public way. The term fire escape usually refers to open iron or steel balconies with steep stairways on the outside of buildings; often a retrofit of older buildings, these are rare in new construction. Other means of escape are by balconies leading to adjacent buildings, or through chutes, often used in hospitals.

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      means of rapid egress from a building, primarily intended for use in case of fire. Several types have been used: a knotted rope or rope ladder secured to an inside wall; an open iron stairway on the building's exterior, an iron balcony; a chute; and an enclosed fire- and smokeproof stairway. The iron stairway is the commonest because it can be added to the outside of nearly any building of modest height, although it has certain drawbacks; unless built against a blank wall it may be rendered useless by smoke from windows, and a means must be provided for keeping it in readiness while denying its use to thieves and prowlers. The iron balcony extends around the exterior of a building to provide a corridor along which persons can flee from fire-imperilled rooms to safety behind a fire wall or in an adjacent building. The chute, or slide escape, is either a curved or a straight incline and may be open or enclosed; it is well suited to such buildings as hospitals, from which patients can be evacuated on their mattresses. The best fire escape, however, is a fully enclosed fireproof stairway in the building or in an adjoining tower. Elevators (elevator) are not considered safe because fire damage may cause them to fail and heat-sensitive call buttons may stop the car where the fire is hottest.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fire escape — Fire Fire (f[imac]r), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. f[=y]r; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. f[=y]ri, f[=u]rr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. {Empyrean}, {Pyre}.] 1. The evolution of light and heat in the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fire escape — UK US noun [C] ► WORKPLACE a set of metal stairs, especially on the outside of a building, that allows people to escape if there is a fire: »After the fire, the building s owner installed a fire escape, with a ladder to the roof and another to… …   Financial and business terms

  • fire escape — fire escapes also fire escape N COUNT A fire escape is a metal staircase on the outside of a building, which can be used to escape from the building if there is a fire …   English dictionary

  • fire escape — n. 1. a fireproof stairway down an outside wall, to help people escape from a burning building 2. a ladder, chute, rope, etc. used for the same purpose …   English World dictionary

  • fire escape — ► NOUN ▪ a staircase or other apparatus used for escaping from a building where there is a fire …   English terms dictionary

  • fire escape — fire′ escape n. bui a metal stairway down an outside wall for escaping from a burning building • Etymology: 1670–80 …   From formal English to slang

  • Fire escape — A fire escape is a special kind of emergency exit, usually mounted to the outside of a building or occasionally inside but separate from the main areas of the building. It provides a method of escape in the event of a fire or other emergency that …   Wikipedia

  • fire escape — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms fire escape : singular fire escape plural fire escapes a metal staircase on the outside wall of a building that people use to get out of the building when there is a fire inside …   English dictionary

  • fire escape — noun Fire escape is used before these nouns: ↑ladder …   Collocations dictionary

  • fire-escape — see fire escape …   English dictionary

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