Nashville Fire Marshal says big box stores can’t block exits to practice social distancing

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Over the weekend the Nashville Fire Marshal’s Office received complaints in reference to exits being blocked as well as only utilizing one exit for all staff members and customers, as an attempt to practice social distancing. They say ALL exits must remain unrestricted during business hours.

The Nashville Fire Department is reminding retail locations to adhere to Nashville Fire Codes while promoting social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

During these challenging times, the Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) understands the importance of utilizing social distancing to help protect the community as well as ourselves from contracting COVID-19. The FMO understands the situation continues to rapidly evolve and many retailers are doing their best to make the right decisions for their employees, their customers and their businesses.

Over the weekend the FMO received complaints in reference to exits being blocked as well as only utilizing one exit for all staff members and customers, as an attempt to practice social distancing. The Nashville FMO would like to remind each business owner of the following Metropolitan Fire Prevention Code references to egress and exit corridors:

  • Exit doors that were/are locked shall remain free of locks and provide access during business hours. (This includes horizontal sliding doors which when pushed shall release)
  • Protruding objects shall not reduce the minimum clear width of accessible routes. Per code 1003.3.4: (2012 IFC)
  • The clear path of egress travel along a means of egress shall not be interrupted.  Obstructions shall not be placed in the required width of a means of egress. The required capacity of a means of egress system shall not be diminished along the path of egress travel. Per code 1003.6: (2012 IFC)
  • Except as specifically permitted by this section egress doors shall be readily openable from the egress side without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort. Per code 1008.1.0: (2012 IFC)
  • Exit access travel distance shall be maintained and shall not exceed 250 feet from the most remote portion of the building. Per code 1016 (2012 IFC)

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