Ministries should come up with common standards for emergency exit-related laws

Aug 22, 2018, 08:39 am

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AsiaToday reporter Park Byung-il 

The legislation of emergency exit installation has the potential to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries. However, it is different for each ministry concerned, threatening the security of the people, and the government is giving a lukewarm response to the amendment of related laws. 

According to current law, it is required for individual stores to install an emergency exit on the opposite side of the main entrance. However, this regulation does not apply to buildings where stores are located and this could lead to immense casualties. 

This problem is due to the fact that individual stores should follow the 'Special Act on the Safety Control of Publicly Used Establishments' or 'Publicly-Used Business Law', while buildings are required to install emergency evacuation facility on the basis of the 'Building Act' of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. 

According to the National Fire Agency and the Ministry of Land on Tuesday, specific provisions related to the installation of emergency exits are only included in the 'Publicly-Used Business Law'.

The law states that an emergency exit shall be installed in the opposite direction of the main entrance of the business site, and that the horizontal distance from the center line of the main entrance to the emergency exit shall be at least one-half the length of the long side of the business site. However, if an emergency exit cannot be installed on the opposite side of the main entrance because of building structure, only the "one-half" rule is applied.
For example, if the longest side of a business site is 20 meters long, its emergency exit must be outside the circle with a radius of 10 meters when drawn from the center line of the main entrance. 

On the other hand, the building law requires to install a direct stairway or a special evacuation staircase that lead to outside as an emergency evacuation facility. But the stairs located at the closest distance from the living room are limited to a walking distance of 30 meters or less. Depending on the size of the building, this walking distance is flexible, but there is no problem even if an emergency exit is installed near the main entrance. 

Firefighters say that such difference could cause damage to people in the event of fire. "The concept of emergency exit is basically running away to the opposite direction of the main entrance. The problem is that there is absolutely no problem for buildings to install emergency stairs anywhere under the current building law," a senior official of the fire agency said.

However, the land ministry has no plans to revise the building law in relation to the emergency exit installment. "We have no plans to prepare an amendment for the location of emergency exits. But we are revising various ways to strengthen fire safety," an official from the land ministry said.

#emergency exit #legislation #Special Act on the Safety Control of Publicly Used Establishments #Building law 
Copyright by Asiatoday