Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 8: Fire Safety

Exit Routes

SPPM 8.24

For more information contact:
   WSU Fire Safety and Compliance

1.0 Policy and Definition

Exit routes are an essential part of any plan designed to evacuate people from a building or other structure in the event of a fire and other emergency. A department should identify at least two exit routes from their general work area to an emergency assembly location or meeting place at least 75 yards from the  building. (See SPPM 8.23 regarding fire survival planning and SPPM 8.27 regarding evacuation of persons with disabilities.)

Note: The number of required exits from a single room is determined by the occupant load and travel distance to the exit(s). Some spaces require only one exit.

2.0 Responsibility

The unit administrator and the area safety committee are responsible for establishing and communicating exit routes within spaces assigned to the unit.

The unit administrator is responsible for ensuring the exit routes are not obstructed.

  • Any obstruction of an exit route is a serious violation of the International Fire Code.
  • Contact the WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer (FSCO) for more information regarding the International Fire Code. The FSCO consults with campus safety personnel as needed.

  • No one may place items within the exit route that restrict or obstruct corridors, stairways, or other exit ways. (RCW 19.27, WAC 296-24-21501, WAC 296-800-31025) The objective is to prevent accidents, to provide unobstructed exit routes, and to comply with fire and safety regulations.
  • For example, movers may not block exits with vehicles or dollies.

  • Any material that may cause combustion, explosion, or the generation of toxic smoke and gases may not be placed in or near exit routes.

Items placed, installed, or maintained  anywhere within space assigned to an administrative unit must be consistent with the fire-resistive standards of the building or other structure.

Personnel are not to place a door chock, wedge, or furniture item in a doorway that could prevent the door from automatically closing in the event of a fire.

3.0 Required Procedures

3.1 Self Inspection

At least annually, a representative of the area safety committee and the unit administrator (or designee) must conduct a safety review to evaluate hazards and to recommend or take corrective action to minimize or eliminate hazards.

Use the Safety Inspection Checklist (see SPPM 2.50)

3.2 Reporting Obstructions

Anyone who identifies a hazard must report the hazard to the unit administrator, the safety committee representative, and/or the WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer.

Use a Hazard Notification form to report obstructions (see SPPM 2.52).

Exception: WSU Tri-Cities departments and personnel use the online EHS Safety Concern Report form to report obstructions.

3.3 Fire Inspection

The WSU Fire Safety and Compliance Officer or local fire department inspector may issue a notice of noncompliance if an administrative unit has obstructions within the department’s exit routes.

Distribution of notices of noncompliance:

  • First notice – The department chair/unit administrator.
  • Second notice – The appropriate dean/next level administrator.
  • Final notice – Dean and department chair/unit administrator meet with local authority having jurisdiction (e.g., fire marshal).

Revisions:  Oct. 2023 (Rev. 139); Aug. 2006 (Rev. 67); Nov. 1994 (Rev. 12*) Dec. 1989 – new policy (Rev. 7).