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January 16, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Office emergency exit door

EmergencydoorJeroen Bouwens writes in:

Imagine the building is on fire. You're surrounded by flames, there's panic everywhere and the only way you are going to live is by opening this emergency exit - it consists of a heavy sliding door that is locked by a mechanism designed by an engineer who did his best to make the task as hard as possible.

The "doorknob" is a smooth metal cylinder that takes a lot of force to turn. On top of that, unlocking is done by turning the knob CLOCKWISE. Yes, that's the direction all other doors in the world use for locking.

Also, the "manual" you see on the door was only added after we complained to the building manager that this was a really broken system. When we told her that this was not the fix we had in mind, she turned all indignant on us and refused to talk about it any longer.

Finally, this is located in the Netherlands. While most people speak English well enough, it seems a sign in our native language would be more appropriate. This may be the most broken emergency exit in the world...and it's in my office!


LOLZ and in an emergency ud better hope who ever is opening the door has a thumb or they are going to burn in fire!!


Posted by: n1nj4 at January 16, 2007 02:20 AM

OK, that's broken in several ways. But for the record, "the direction all other doors in the world use for locking" is *toward*the*doorjamb*, not necessarily clockwise. In the configuration shown in the picture, yes, I would expect counterclockwise to unlock -- but if the door were hinged on the other side, I would expect clockwise to unlock.

Posted by: stoo at January 16, 2007 08:02 AM

What are the local fire regulations and building code standards? In many (most? all?) jurisdictions, there are regulations governing emergency exits that mandate specfic signage and performance.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at January 16, 2007 08:37 AM

This is really broken and I can kinda relate to it. The door to the balcony of my apartment has a dead bolt. Most deadbolts are locked when the lock handle is horizontal. This one is locked when the handle is vertical. While certainly not as dangerous as todays TIB example it sure is confusing and I often inadvertantly leave it unlocked.

Posted by: lefty-chef at January 16, 2007 09:05 AM

Oh, and your building manager is broken too!!

Posted by: lefty-chef at January 16, 2007 09:06 AM

There's no 'Broken' like the kind of broken that ends up with multiple charred bodies piled up in front of it!

Curious: what do you suppose the Fire Marshall would have to say about this?

Posted by: DavesBrain at January 16, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm not saying that its not broken, as the design of the doorknob is horrible, but I have a few problems with your statements.

Most doorknobs I have run into in my lifetime can be operated either clockwise or counterclockwise to open the door. Yes, most doors use towards the jamb to lock and away from it to lock, but it is against the fire code to have an emergency exit locked so that it cannot be opened from the inside is it not?

Speaking of broken fire exits, at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ, there is an exit on the second floor, marked as a fire exit, which opens to a 30 foot fall to the pavement below. The door is not sealed off and there are no warnings.

Posted by: Elite Marksman at January 16, 2007 05:50 PM

Not only is the sign not in the local language, but it is not proper English. In English, the words "Emergency" and "Door" are separate.

Posted by: ebob at January 16, 2007 10:28 PM

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