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Section 1031 Emergency Escape and Rescue

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1031.1 General
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall comply with the requirements of this section.
1031.2 Where Required
In addition to the means of egress required by this chapter, emergency escape and rescue openings shall be provided in the following occupancies:
  1. Group R-2 occupancies located in stories with only one exit or access to only one exit as permitted by Tables 1006.3.4(1) and 1006.3.4(2).
  2. Group R-3 and R-4 occupancies.
Basements and sleeping rooms below the fourth story above grade plane shall have not fewer than one emergency escape and rescue opening in accordance with this section. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Such openings shall open directly into a public way or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.
Exceptions:
  1. Basements with a ceiling height of less than 80 inches (2032 mm) shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings.
  2. Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required from basements or sleeping rooms that have an exit door or exit access door that opens directly into a public way or to a yard, court or exterior egress balcony that opens to a public way.
  3. Basements without habitable spaces and having not more than 200 square feet (18.6 m2) in floor area shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings.
  4. Storm shelters are not required to comply with this section where the shelter is constructed in accordance with ICC 500.
  5. Within individual dwelling and sleeping units in Groups R-2 and R-3, where the building is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1, 903.3.1.2 or 903.3.1.3, sleeping rooms in basements shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings provided that the basement has one of the following:
1031.2.1 Operational Constraints and Opening Control Devices
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from inside the room without the use of keys or tools. Window-opening control devices complying with ASTM F2090 shall be permitted for use on windows serving as a required emergency escape and rescue opening.
1031.3 Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall comply with Sections 1031.3.1 through 1031.3.3.
1031.3.1 Minimum Size
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.53 m2).
Exception: The minimum net clear opening for grade-floor emergency escape and rescue openings shall be 5 square feet (0.46 m2).
1031.3.2 Minimum Dimensions
The minimum net clear opening height dimension shall be 24 inches (610 mm). The minimum net clear opening width dimension shall be 20 inches (508 mm). The net clear opening dimensions shall be the result of normal operation of the opening.
1031.3.3 Maximum Height From Floor
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have the bottom of the clear opening not greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) measured from the floor.
1031.4 Emergency Escape and Rescue Doors
Where a door is provided as the required emergency escape and rescue opening, it shall be a swinging door or a sliding door.
1031.5 Area Wells
An emergency escape and rescue opening with the bottom of the clear opening below the adjacent grade shall be provided with an area well in accordance with Sections 1031.5.1 through 1031.5.3.
1031.5.1 Minimum Size
The minimum horizontal area of the area well shall be 9 square feet (0.84 m2), with a horizontal projection and width of not less than 36 inches (914 mm). The area well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.
Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section 1031.5.2 shall be permitted to encroach not more than 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the area well.
1031.5.2 Ladders or Steps
Area wells with a vertical depth of more than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or steps. The ladder or steps shall not be obstructed by the emergency escape and rescue opening when the window or door is in the open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Section 1011.
1031.5.2.1 Ladders
Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center (o.c.) vertically for the full height of the area well.
1031.5.2.2 Steps
Steps shall have an inside width of not less than 12 inches (305 mm), shall have treads greater than 5 inches (127 mm) in depth and a riser height not greater than 18 inches (457 mm) for the full height of the area well.
1031.5.3 Drainage
Area wells shall be designed for proper drainage by connecting to the building's foundation drainage system required by Section 1805.
Exception: A drainage system for area wells is not required where the foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel mixture soils in accordance with the United Soil Classification System, Group I Soils, in accordance with Section 1803.5.1.
1031.6 Bars, Grilles, Covers and Screens
Where bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are placed over emergency escape and rescue openings or area wells that serve such openings, the minimum net clear opening size shall comply with Sections 1031.3 and 1031.5. Such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening.

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