Originally Posted By: jpeck
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
If a key, tool or “special knowledge” is required to open or remove those bars, they are not allowed.
From the old Standard Building Code.
B1005.5 SECURITY BARS, GRILLES AND GRATES. Each sleeping room or room with a required exit door in a residential occupancy that has security bars, grilles, grates or similar devices installed shall have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening.
B1005.4 EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS
- B1005.4.1 Where required. Every sleeping room located on the first, second, and third story or within basements of Group R occupancies shall have at least one exterior emergency escape and rescue opening.
- - EXCEPTIONS:
- - - 1. Buildings equipped with an approved automatic sprinkler system.
- - - 2. Sleeping rooms provided with a door to a corridor having access to two remote exits in opposite directions.
- - - 3. The emergency escape and rescue opening may open onto a balcony within an atrium provided the balcony provides access to an exit and the dwelling unit or sleeping room has a means of egress which is not open to the atrium.
- B1005.4.2 Operational constraints. The emergency escape and rescue opening shall be operable from the inside to a full clear opening without the use of separate tools or keys. The net clear opening dimensions shall be the result of normal operation of the opening.
- B1005.4.3 Maximum height from floor. The emergency escape and rescue opening shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor.
- B1005.4.4 Minimum size. 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 minimum net clear opening area shall be 5.7 sq ft (0.53 m?).
- - EXCEPTION: Ground floor openings shall be permitted to have a minimum net clear opening of 5.0 sq ft (0.47 m?).
- B1005.4.5 Security devices. Bars, grilles, grates, or similar devices shall be permitted provided the minimum size and operational constraints of such devices are in accordance with B1005.4.2, B1005.4.3, and B1005.4.4.
From the Florida Building Code.
1005.4.5 Security and hurricane protection devices. Bars, grilles, grates or similar security devices shall be permitted provided the minimum size and operational constraints of such devices are in accordance with 1005.4.2, 1005.4.3, and 1005.4.4. The temporary installation or closure of storm shutters, panels, and other approved hurricane protection devices shall be permitted on emergency escape and rescue openings in Group R occupancies during the threat of a storm. Such devices shall not be required to comply with the operational constraints of 1005.4.2, 1005.4.3 and 1005.4.4. While such protection is provided, at least one means of escape from the dwelling or dwelling unit shall be provided. The means of escape shall be within the first floor of the dwelling or dwelling unit and shall not be located within a garage. Occupants in any part of the dwelling or dwelling unit shall be able to access the means of escape without passing through a lockable door not under their control.
A 5 or 6 members of a family died from a fire last weekend following the hurricane when they had their shutters up and there was no escape and no rescue options. This is a very recognized risk down here, even being addressed in the code.
From the IRC.
R310.4 Bars, grills, covers and screens. Bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or windowwells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and 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 escape and rescue opening.