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Policy on Means of Egress

  1. Purpose
    This is a statement of official University policy to establish the process for compliance with certain requirements of COMAR 29.06.01 Fire Prevention Code (State Fire Prevention Code) and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.36 - .38 Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans and Fire Prevention Plans.

  2. Scope
    This Policy applies to all University facilities and all occupants of University facilities and contractors.

  3. Policy
    The University is dedicated to providing safe and healthful work facilities for all students, employees, and visitors, and complying with the State Fire Prevention Code and federal and State occupational health and safety standards. Stairwells, corridors, and other means of egress, are intended to provide a safe and adequate means by which occupants may exit a facility and emergency personnel may access the facility during an emergency. Items in stairwells, blocking exit doors, restricting corridors, or blocking fire emergency equipment constitute serous hazards. Corridors and other means of egress must be free of obstructions. Only storage, items, and processes that conform with this Policy are permitted.

  4. Duties and Responsibilities
    1. Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk (ESSR) shall:
      1. Develop and distribute the written Policy on Means of Egress.
      2. Provide or coordinate awareness programs for facility occupants.
      3. Inspect stairwells and corridors for compliance with State and Federal regulations and this Policy.
      4. Maintain records of non-compliance issues.
      5. Notify facility occupants and Facilities Management and contractors of non-compliance issues.
      6. Remove hazardous materials when necessary.
      7. Provide technical support to, and coordinate, with Facilities Management and other departments, agencies, or individuals responsible for resolving non-compliance issues.
      8. Approve locations for acceptable items.
      9. Annually review this Policy for effectiveness and revise as necessary.
    2. Facilities Management (FM) shall:
      1. Remove non-compliant items from stairwells and corridors.
      2. Coordinate non-compliance issues involving FM contractors.
    3. Deans, Directors, Department Heads shall:
      1. Assure that facilities under their control are in compliance with this Policy.
      2. Coordinate the resolution of non-compliance issues.
      3. Assure that FM and ESSR are reimbursed for services as required by the Policy.
    4. Occupants shall:
      1. Use means of egress only in compliance with this Policy.
      2. Notify the facility manager, a Compliance Officer, ESSR, or FM of non-compliance issues.

  5. Procedures
    1. The following items are subject to immediate removal by the Department of Facilities Management (or ESSR if hazardous materials are involved). Building occupants will be notified of violations. Facilities Management (or ESSR) will charge the FAS accounts of building occupants for removal services.
      1. Any items blocking an exit door or access to an exit door.
      2. Any items located within a stairwell or stair enclosure.
      3. Any items that restrict the width of any portion of a corridor to less than 44 inches.
      4. Any items that obstruct fire emergency equipment (fire alarm pull stations, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, etc.
      5. Any items that are determined to be an immediate fire or life safety hazard.
    2. The following items and processes are not acceptable in any corridor or elevator lobby. Unacceptable items are subject to removal by Facilities Management (or ESSR if hazardous materials are involved) within 30 days after the violations are observed. Building occupants will be notified of violations. Facilities Management (or ESSR) will charge the FAS accounts of building occupants for removal services.
      1. Any item which obstructs utility panels, utility valves, or electrical receptacles.
      2. Laboratory procedures which involve transfer or processing of an infectious agent, potentially infectious agent, radioactive material, or chemical.
      3. Storage or manipulation of ALL chemicals and radioactive materials.
      4. Manipulation of biological agents or toxins which are assigned to Biosafety Level 2 or higher.
      5. Storage or use of compressed gas cylinders.
      6. Equipment which would present significant hazards under routine or emergency conditions, such as equipment that uses volatile materials or hazardous chemicals, equipment that may produce steam, excessive heat or aerosols, or equipment with unguarded belts, pulleys and/or gears. Examples of this type of equipment include, but are not limited to; scintillation counters, electrophoresis equipment, autoclaves, pumps, incubators, and centrifuges.
      7. Any items which move easily or could fall over and cause an obstruction.
      8. Unapproved workstations (including copiers, office equipment, coffee stations, desks), break areas, and waiting areas.
      9. Furniture that contains polyurethane foam or other types of combustible padding or stuffing.
      10. Combustible materials outside of enclosed cabinets. This includes journals, papers, books and boxes.
      11. Recycling materials outside of Facilities Management approved recycling containers.
      12. Any item or combination of items in a quantity that presents a fire or life safety hazard.

  6. Information
    Assistance will be provided by the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk to any Department of individual requesting guidance and assistance for the implementation of programs or procedures to comply with this Policy.

Departmental telephone number: (301) 405-3970
Email address:
Website address:

Approved 2003