SINGAPORE - We agree with Mr Gary Ow that fire exit doors in buildings should open outwardly or towards the direction of escape, to facilitate mass evacuation during an emergency (“Outward-opening fire exit doors”; last Friday). This is already a fire safety requirement as stipulated in the Fire Code, which building practitioners must adhere to when designing fire safety measures in buildings.
Generally, the direction in which an exit door opens is dependent on several factors, such as whether the door forms part of the key common escape route, the type of premises and familiarity of the occupants with their premises.
Doors at exit staircases, fire-fighting lobbies and premises with high occupant load are examples of exit doors that are required to open in the direction of escape.
However, for small premises such as residential units, the main exit doors need not open in the direction of escape due to the low occupancy and familiarity of the occupants living in them.
Leslie Williams (Lieutenant-Colonel) Assistant Director (Public Affairs Department) Singapore Civil Defence Force
This article was published on April 11 in The Straits Times.
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