Search this site:


June 5, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Emergency exit

EexitMorgan Harris-Warrick points out:

In the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy center, I came across this door which has both the signs "Emergency Exit Only" and "Not an Emergency Exit."

So, in case of an emergency, am I supposed to go out this door or not?


wow, its like a perfect combination of the fire extinguisher submission and the door instructions submission.

Posted by: gmangw at June 5, 2006 12:19 AM

"wow, its like a perfect combination of the fire extinguisher submission and the door instructions submission."

Quoted for hilarity.

Posted by: game kid at June 5, 2006 12:50 AM

I'm SOO confused!

Posted by: Debi at June 5, 2006 12:51 AM

At least it doesn't say "alarm will sound" and "no alarm will sound". If it did, I would be SO tempted to open that door.

Posted by: BlastYoBoots at June 5, 2006 01:29 AM

what your supposed to in an emergency is ran around like chickens with their heads cut off and not running around looking for an emergency that does exist

Posted by: Fire me at June 5, 2006 07:55 AM

Not to mention that if there's an actual fire with smoke floating around, people are only going to see the "Emergency exit only" sign, and get in trouble...

Posted by: Cctoide at June 5, 2006 08:52 AM

Not broken. It's used only as an emergency exit, but it's not being used as one. What the signs are saying is that you should not go out this door. Geez. Any idiot could've figured that out.


Broken. Yet another fire hazard.

Posted by: Galen D. W. at June 5, 2006 08:54 AM

I say things that are broken enough to pose a risk to human life deserve a special category.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at June 5, 2006 11:00 AM

So... if it's NOT an emergency exit, does that mean it's a normal exit that we can use any time? I mean, there's obviously a door there, so either it's an emergency exit or it's a normal exit. If you're not supposed to use the door at all, then why didn't they say that?

Posted by: Francois Tremblay at June 5, 2006 01:16 PM

The door is an emergency exit. The *wall* is not.



Posted by: Miles Archer at June 5, 2006 01:24 PM

It looks like there are two pieces of velcro fastener on the original sign. Maybe there was something covering the incorrect sign at some point.

I can see people taking it off enough times that someone stuck a new sign above the door out of frustration.

The paperwork is probably still going through to get the blue sign down.

Posted by: WillF at June 5, 2006 02:02 PM

oh, wait a minute - that paper sign above the door looks like it is covering a plastic sign which probably says "emergency exit". So I'm pretty sure there was something covering the sign next to the door.

Posted by: WillF at June 5, 2006 02:04 PM

I guess that depends on what your definition of 'emergency' is. I got to get to my hair appointment like, NOW!, that's an emergency. Should I use this door or not? If there is a fire, you better look for the extinguisher first (it is behind the wall, next to the kids jeans). Too much to think about now, my brain is hurting.

Posted by: Bill C. at June 5, 2006 03:13 PM

Open the door and freeze with one foot outside.

Posted by: Fuzzy at June 5, 2006 04:16 PM

To logically explain this, like willF said, it's there cause its usually used as an emergency exit but not now for some reason, and they probably had something covering the blue sign too.

And by the way, howcome gmangw is always the first one?

Posted by: no one at June 5, 2006 04:53 PM

It's not actually a door...just painted to look like one. The sign-hanging guy was bored that day.

I have to give props to the submitter for enlarging the signs for us so we can all be confused together. I love unity!

Posted by: that'll_do_pig at June 5, 2006 06:04 PM

UHH ohh.. looks like a Bug has been found in the commenting part and exploited by a Spammer.. I thought that would surely be over Character limit for a coment.. and note to above.. Posting a URL to a Viagra site or anything you are trying to sell 10 billion times doesn't usually get many sales

Posted by: infinity at June 5, 2006 06:31 PM

If there were a real emergency, I wouldn't care if it was or wasn't technically supposed to be used. I am not burning to death because a perfectly good door wasn't technically supposed to be used.

Posted by: Michael at June 5, 2006 08:07 PM

It seems simple to me, after thinking about it for a while. Which would be too long if I was in a burning building. The door is an emergency exit, but the door is locked on both sides, or something is blocking it on the other side.

Posted by: Flashx11 at June 5, 2006 08:46 PM

I don't get why people can't just take down one sign or the other? I mean is it really that hard just to take down a sign, as opposed to leaving the original and posting a correction? Also, they could've just written: "Correction: NOT an emergency exit."

In conclusion: People are stupid, and do not think things through that require a level of thinking less than what is considered 'common sence'.

Posted by: Max at June 5, 2006 09:39 PM

Hmm... just thought of something. What happens to the poor blind man who's caught in this building when there IS an emergency. The emergency exit sign is the only sign with Braille on it. What happens when he tries to open the door? This is a major safety hazard. =S

Posted by: Max at June 5, 2006 09:46 PM

seems pretty simple to me: this is a government facility. form number hqx1432za3-4, which allows you to post a temporary paper sign, was approved before form number zf432//2.910.a, which allows removal of a permanent sign, was approved.

Posted by: mcwatters at June 5, 2006 10:17 PM

Another 'train' of thought says that this door isn't an EMERGENCY exit but rather a general purpose exit to somewhere. Emergency exits are normall standard exits just labeled as such. In stores they use alarms to prevent you from stealing something and leaving through an emergency exit. In restaurants, it's either a normal exit or there's a table blocking it. In other buildings, the sign is only 'Do Not Block' but doesn't say anything about someone not being able to use it at a time other than an emergency.

Posted by: Trent Chernecki at June 6, 2006 01:48 AM

Maybe it was an emergency exit and they added a wing on to the building and now it just leads to another hallway.

Posted by: JAC at June 6, 2006 12:02 PM

I'm not sure, but do I see Braille to the left of, or under, the blue sign? If so, how's a blind person going to find the taped over sign over the door? Reach around randomly and find it, if he/she is tall enough?

Not an Emergency Exit for sighted people, only for short blind people... Darwinian selection at work.

Posted by: Pat at June 6, 2006 02:43 PM

i reported that $^&&*$ spamer hopefully it wil get removed soon

Posted by: damm spammers at June 6, 2006 10:42 PM

In an emergency, ALL exits qualify as emergency exits.

Which only means that what is broken is the fool who up the "Not an emergency exit" sign thinking it had any relevance to anybody at all in an emergency.

Posted by: Dexter at June 7, 2006 12:02 PM

Wrong. Not ALL exits qualify as an emergency exit. Some "exits" can put you in a worse position if there is a heavy smoke condition, fire, etc.

It's possible at one time this exit was to be used for in case of emergency only. Since that time, there may have been a buiding renovation that now changes to layout of building drastically. To go through this door in a dire attempt to leave the building may now put one in greater danger. (see JAC's post)

Which leads me back to Max's posts. Just remove the incorrect sign. Now.

Posted by: Jack at June 8, 2006 02:17 PM

It could be worse. My brother used to be a security gaurd at the local mall, and there was a marked emergency exit on the second floor. The only problem is this door leads only to a 30 foot drop, no stairs, no ladder, just 30 feet until you meet the parking lot.

Posted by: David at June 10, 2006 07:51 PM

Guys, think about it for a minute. Nine-tenths of the Fire Exit Only doors out there are fakes. Like once, my mom and I were in the Wachovia Bank, and I reeally had to go. So, the lady who was talking to my mom promptly gets up, brings me straght through the Fire Exit, and lo and behold, the whole employee lounge is back there! There were couches, TVs, lamps, beds, and bathrooms. No exit door, either. I came back, feeling relieved and somewhat enlightened. "So they DO want us to burn like hot dogs in case of a fire!" Maybe they set up fires when someone gets too much money from insurance and comes to claim it. A lot of people will forget that there IS a front door in case of fire.

Also, several airports I've gone to have Fire Exit Only doors. I see employees constantly milling in and out. I should know; I got stuck sleeping in airport due to general incompetence once, and we had to sleep RIGHT next to one of those doors. Apparently, work continues overnight for them.

Sorry for sorta telling you 2 of my life stories, but I feel like the world should know.

Posted by: Eric at June 12, 2006 03:25 PM

That Wachovia Bank story is hilarious. I can just see it: there's a fire, and everyone charges through what they think is an emergency exit ... only to discover that they've crowded into a tastefully decorated sitting room.

Posted by: mattymatt at June 12, 2006 07:22 PM

I don't care what it says, if there's a fire, I use whatever door I feel I need to use to get out!

Posted by: Jeff at June 24, 2006 10:23 PM

Comments on this entry are closed

Previous Posts: