Fire escapes may be used as one means of egress if the pitch does not exceed 60 degrees, the width is not less than 18 inches (457 mm), the treads are not less than 4 inches (102 mm) wide, and they extend to the ground or are provided with counterbalanced stairs reaching to the ground. Access shall be by an opening having a minimum dimension of 29 inches (737 mm) when open. The sill shall not be more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor and landing.
A ladder device, when used in lieu of a fire escape, shall conform to Section 313.6.1 and the following:
- Serves an occupant load of nine people or less or a single dwelling unit or hotel room.
- The building does not exceed three stories in height.
- The access is adjacent to an opening as specified for emergency egress or rescue or from a balcony.
- The device does not pass in front of any building opening below the unit being served.
- The availability of activating the ladder device is accessible only to the opening or balcony served.
- The device as installed will not cause a person using it to be within 12 feet (3658 mm) of exposed energized high-voltage conductors.
This standard for exit ladder devices is applicable where such devices are permitted by the building official
for installation on existing apartment houses and hotels in conformance with the California Building Code
Installation shall be in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Instructions shall be illustrated and shall include directions and information adequate for attaining proper and safe installation of the product. Where exit ladder devices are intended for mounting on different support surfaces, specific installation instructions shall be provided for each surface.
All load-bearing surfaces and supporting hardware shall be of noncombustible materials
. Exit ladder devices shall have a minimum width of 12 inches (305 mm) when in the position intended for use. The design load shall not be less than 400 pounds (1780N) for 16-foot (4877 mm) length and 600 pounds (2699N) for 25-foot (7620 mm) length.
Exit ladder devices shall be capable of withstanding an applied load of four times the design load when installed in the manner intended for use. Test loads shall be applied for a period of one hour.
Exit ladder devices of the retractable type shall, in addition to the static load requirements of Section 4220.127.116.11.1 of the California Building Code, be capable of withstanding the following tests:
- Rung strength.
- Rung-to-side-rail shear strength.
- Release mechanism.
- Low temperature.
Rungs of retractable exit ladder devices shall be capable of withstanding a load of 1,000 pounds (4448N) when applied to a 31/2-inch-wide (89 mm) block resting at the center of the rung. The test load shall be applied for a period of 1 hour. The ladder shall remain operational following this test.
Rungs of retractable exit ladder devices shall be capable of withstanding 1,000 (4448N) when applied to a 31/2-inch-wide (89 mm) block resting on the center rung as near the side rail as possible. The test load shall be applied for a period of 1 hour. Upon removal of the test load the fasteners attaching the rung to the side rail shall show no evidence of failure. The ladder shall remain operational following the test.
The release mechanism of retractable exit ladder devices shall operate with an average applied force of not more than 5 pounds (22.2N) for hand-operated releasing mechanisms and an average applied force of not more than 25 pounds (111N) for foot-pedal types of releasing mechanisms. For these tests, a force gauge shall be applied to the release mechanism, and the average of three consecutive readings shall be computed.
Representative samples of the exit ladder devices shall be subjected to a temperature of -40°C in an environmental chamber for a period of 24 hours. The release mechanism shall be operated immediately upon removal from the chamber. The ladder device shall function as intended without any restriction of operation.