Talk:Fire escape

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I was surprised this article wasn't written yet, so I just wrote what I knew off the top of my head. If anyone wants to find specific incidences of fire escape collapses, I think it would be a good addition to the history section. I know there was some kind of collapse here in Chicago a few years ago, but I'm not sure if it was a fire escape or just a porch. Also, some historical examples of building codes requiring fire escapes would be nice. CyborgTosser (Only half the battle) 09:24, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

From the article: "In addition,l fire escapes proved ill suited to modern construction techniques for high-rises." It would be nice if someone could explain why fire escapes are ill suited to modern construction techniques for high-rises. I don't have the answer... Andrew Bond 13:40, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the reasons (I just know that it is not done), but I can take a guess. I think one of the big reasons is wind speeds at that height. Having an irregular object jutting off the side of the building and catching the wind would subject the exterior of the building to an irregularly distributed strain. As I understand it, the glass on the outside of skyscrapers is load bearing, and distributing that load evenly is an important concern. I didn't want to speculate in the main article though. I'll let someone with more knowledge in this area fill that in, but I agree that a short explanation is needed. CyborgTosser (Only half the battle) 23:12, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Mention should be made of the first registered patent for a fire escape: Anna Connelly, 1887. She is most often credited as the inventor of the fire escape, but perhaps her patent only applies to the invention of the well known exterior steel staircases that became know by that name. Information about her is sparse through Google. Jaypeg 14:24, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Often tall buildings' glass is just a curtain wall. Sometimes the outer frame is load bearing though (like the World Trade Center). Another reason: Fire escapes would obstruct building occupants' views.

I am curious where people got this information about Anna Connelly having the first registered patent for a fire escape in 1887. New York City building codes required exterior balconies and stairs (referred to as fire escapes in the code) already in 1860. And numerous patents for such exist prior to 1887, the earliest in 1860. The article needs reliable references. --Metro2008 (talk) 05:53, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, after searching on the internet for about 5 minutes, I was able to obtain the patent number for Anna Connelly's fire escape. I then when to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office online archive of full text patents and searched the number. As I suspected, she did not actually invent the fire escape, she invented a type of fire escape that is actually nothing like the exterior stairs and balconies that this wikipedia entry discusses. Her patent is for a bridge that connects the roofs of buildings. I am disturbed to find that she is noted all over the internet as the inventor of the fire escape. I am a woman and am all for promoting inventions by women, but we can't give her more credit than is due. Clearly people need to check their facts, because once something ends up on the internet, it ends up being taken as truth. --Metro2008 (talk) 05:53, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

The name of this object is a "fire escape", and that should be the article name. Yes, it can be used for other emergencies, but they were devised to escape fires and that is how they are known. A Google test agrees with me, and dictionary websites (, generally list "fire escape" but not "emergency escape". -Big Smooth 18:39, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

They are often known also as fire exits and emergency exits. Cheesypot 21:33, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I tend to think of the latter two terms meaning internal stairways, or doors that open outside, especially those alarmed preventing normal use. Fire escapes are the bare-bones outside staircases. Sagittarian Milky Way 08:28, 21 September 2007 (UTC)


The pictures show 3 typical American style fire escapes, there are none that aren't typical or that aren't American. Also, these 3 pictures look pretty much the same, there only really needs to be one. Cheesypot 21:34, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

The picture of the yellow brick NYC building is labeled 'midtown', but I'm fairly sure that's a building on the corner of Houston and Mercer, which is downtown. I've updated the caption, but I mention it here as I didn't take the picture, so could be mistaken. Alta-Snowbird (talk) 17:58, 1 August 2011 (UTC)


This is a great idea for an article, but needs work. The history section jumps from the 18th century to the 20th century. It is unfortunate, but government never intervenes until people die. For this reason, I think this article would benefit greatly by information on the reasons fire escapes were originally coded, for buildings. Usually it is a massive disaster which forces law makers to wake up and do something about it. I do not have any sources, except for this thesis (a big download, so give it time) that someone wrote on the subject. He cites a bakery fire (page 22) which broke out on February 2, 1860 in New York City. The tragic event forced officials to look at other ways of escape during a fire, which led to early iron fire escapes. I personally have no means of researching this, but the author has cited his sources so that may be helpful for those of you who can. Good luck! MagnoliaSouth (talk) 23:36, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Found this article from the NY Times (which is quoted in the thesis) about that fire. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 00:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)


I wanted to also add (I just posted History above) that lately, there have been accidents related to old fire escapes that have fallen into disrepair. This lawsuit in Philadelphia (whose government is now is looking into fire escape safety); see my note under history about how government waits until a disaster) is only one example. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 23:43, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

American Culture[edit]

The article doesn't address this, but fire escapes seem to be mainly American, and are certainly a fixture of American culture in novels, movies, etc...--Jack Upland (talk) 10:54, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

I've also noticed that, in American entertainment media, the characters use fire escapes, to an extent, as balconies or patios. I'd be interested in learning if this is something real people actually do and, if so, the culture of it. (talk) 01:58, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Emergency escape[edit]

I don't think Emergency escape should redirect here; it should go to Emergency exit. I wasn't looking for fire escapes on buildings, I was looking for a page on the general concept. "Emergency escape" is a very broad term which seems to apply better to the concept as a whole than to building fire escapes in particular. AnnaGoFast (talk) 05:39, 24 April 2016 (UTC)