A Study of Operational Readiness of Egress System in Students` Halls of Residence: The Case of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Emmanuel Olanipekun, Sunday Nunayon


Fire poses a serious threat to lives and properties when uncontrolled. In the event of fire emergencies, egress system is an important component required for occupant safety. Thus, the operational readiness of all the elements within the egress system is paramount to safe and orderly evacuation of building occupants. This paper presented the results of an investigation conducted on the operational readiness of egress system in students` halls of residence within Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The study employed quantitative and case study approaches to examine their fire safety preparedness. Field measurements were undertaken to document the dimensions of egress system components: width of stair, travel distance, space between balusters, height of handrails, headroom and riser height, tread length and pitch of stair. To assess whether the existing stair qualities are appropriate for the current population, past and current students’ population were collected from which occupancy growth rate was determined. The measured data were compared with the provisions of National Building Code of Nigeria [2006], British Standard Institution Group [2008] and Stairway Manufacturers Association of Virginia [2009]. The result showed an average of 300% increase in population of the occupants without increasing the capacity of the egress system. The results of comparative analysis of egress system components revealed narrow width, unequal treads and non-uniform risers of steps and other inaccuracies of stair components. The study concluded that in the event of fire outbreak occupants’ lives could be threatened, bottlenecks and confusion may be created when occupants are trying to escape.

Keywords: Fire Safety, Egress system, Student housing, Operational readiness, occupancy growth.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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