The Dangers of Poor Design

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These photos capture the fire exits to a downtown Bucknell house. There are three exits to the fire escape: two doors that open from the inside on either corner of this section of the house and one window with no screen or locks that leads directly to the un-gated stairs down to the ground.

The design of this fire escape is awful.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, emergency exits are meant to be “located as far away as practical from each other in case one is blocked by fire or smoke.” However, these three exits provide direct exit from the building through the dorm rooms of three particular students, all in the same section of the house, and would therefore not slow the traffic of individuals hurrying to escape in the event of an emergency in any meaningful way.

Furthermore, the two doors can only be opened from the inside, meaning that if individuals were stuck inside of those doors on the upper floors of the house, there would be no way for first responders to get to them without first having to break down the back of the house’s emergency exit doors while balancing on the rusty fire escape.

Lastly, this fire escape has no lock/gate/anything blocking outsiders from climbing up into the dorm room whose window leads directly to this exit. With absolutely no safety measures installed or thought of to ensure the safety of the individual abiding inside of the room with this window, the student would be left completely unguarded and could be robbed/attacked/abducted/etc. in the event that there is a threat from the outside.

Overall, this fire escape — a building-feature meant to improve the safety of the house to which it belongs and the well-being of the students living in said house— causes far more safety concerns than it fixes and poses threats to students: all due to poor design.

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