What Does Final Exit Mean?
A “final exit,” a term primarily used in the United Kingdom, is the endpoint of an emergency escape route from a building or other non-domestic premises. Final exits provide escaping persons with direct access to a street, passageway, walkway, or open space. Moreover, they are sited to ensure that escapees may quickly remove themselves from the vicinity of the building and any hazards associated with it (e.g., fire and smoke).
Not all final exits are emergency exits. An emergency exit may only be used in an emergency, whereas a final exit may be an ordinary exit to an escape route that meets all applicable standards for providing a safe means of building escape.
Safeopedia Explains Final Exit
All major building codes, as well as all modern occupational health and safety standards, include specific standards regulating the correct provision of emergency escape routes from buildings. These standards are primarily concerned with ensuring that evacuees can make their way to a final exit safely and efficiently.
The common standard for a final exit is that it must be as accessible to all persons in the building as is reasonably practicable. This means ensuring that all escape routes leading to a final exit remain clear of obstructions or hazards at all times. The exit itself must also be clear of obstruction and lead as directly as possible to a place of safety. In workplaces where employees are expected to gather in a safe area, this place is often called a “muster point.”
The emphasis on accessibility also requires that the route to a final exit be as short as possible and that the exit be as easy as possible to move through. The final exit must also be of a certain minimum width, which increases with the number of people who occupy the building. This minimum width requirement reflects the need for many individuals to be able to exit the building simultaneously in the event of an emergency.
In addition to the final exit requirements imposed by building code regulations, most occupational health and safety codes also require that employees at many types of facilities be provided with mandatory evacuation training. The purpose of this training is to ensure that employees are familiar with the correct escape route and do not default toward using their regular exit route during an emergency.