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#600 EERO’s 5/31/2019

It’s common knowledge every bedroom needs to have a secondary means of egress, such as a window, that leads to an area of safety. It’s a means of escaping a fire or other hazard that may be present. There are even minimum sizes of openings the windows must meet. Right? Except, there really isn’t a requirement for egress windows, as such. The requirement is for an opening. Hence the misinterpretation for an egress window.

Egress means exit, a way to get out. But getting out may mean being rescued as much as escape. And if there is going to be a rescue someone needs to get in first. The minimum sizes for openings are based upon the needs encountered when a fire-fighter is in full gear, including breathing apparatus, and must get in through the opening. Essentially it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference how it’s interpreted; the intention is safety. Don’t forget though, there are provisions for light and air to the living spaces that get mixed in as well.

When people refer to egress windows, they are in fact referring to EERO’s. This acronym stands for Emergency Escape and Rescue Opening. That can be a window or a door among other things. Plus, it doesn’t apply to only bedrooms, it applies to any room where sleeping is likely to occur. This is left vague on purpose. The building official must determine how to apply the rule based on their experience and judgment.

A general rule of thumb is an EERO should be available where sleeping is probable. A floor plan for a new house might have labels for an exercise room, a sewing room, a den, a library, or any number of creative ways to skirt the code that skip or use smaller openings. Additionally, basements over 200sf which can be used for more than just mechanicals are required to have an EERO.

Minimum sizes for the openings are a touch confusing (at first) but each must meet several criteria. Minimum opening width is 20”, minimum opening height is 24”, AND, the minimum net clear opening must be 5.7sf or greater. Simple math says you must exceed either the minimum width, minimum height, or both. Remember a square foot is 144 square inches, so you need a minimum opening of about 821 square inches. This may all be confusing, but it helps keep people safe About the House.

9 Jun   2:37PM

399 Acronyms Revisited for 6/12/2015 A couple of years back I wrote a column about acronyms, specifically a few to keep in mind for safety issues About the House. If your memory is anything like mine is, it’s time for a refresher course. One acronym I wrote about was GFCI, which stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This is an electrical device that measures the amount of electrical energy flow to a device and turns the flow off when a ground fault occurs. The fault in this case would be the energy flowing into a person’s body instead of the drill, saw, blender, or curling iron being used. It is not necessary to understand exactly what a ground fault is; you just need to know you can protect your wellbeing by having a GFCI breaker or duplex in proper working condition. These should installed be in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and the exterior of your home. About half of the GFCI duplexes I test while doing a home inspection fail to work properly and cut the power flow. Having these devices installed or checked by an electrician is a great way to know they are working properly. Another acronym is ABC. This usage refers to Ashes, Barrels, and Current. These are descriptors for the three basic types of fire we encounter in our homes: Things that leave Ashes like paper or wood; Things that come in Barrels, such as gas and oil, and finally; Fires caused by electrical Current. You will want to have an extinguisher able to fight all three types of fire. You do have fire extinguishers in your home right? They are readily accessible too, right? And everyone knows where they are and how to use them, right? Good deal! But just in case here is a reminder acronym: PASS. PASS stands for: Pull the pin; Aim at the base of the fire (not the top); Squeeze the trigger; and finally Sweep the extinguisher back and forth to put the fire out. Another acronym for fire safety is RACE; Rescue - only if it can be done immediately and safely; Alarm - as in pull the handle, break the glass, or call 911; Confine the fire - by closing the door if possible, and lastly; Extinguish using the PASS method described above. By remembering these acronyms you can eliminate this one, DEAD: Which means Doesn’t Eat Any Dinner ATH,

(About the House).

9 Jun   2:15PM

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