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Q: Are there any life safety requirements concerning courtyards? We have an outdoor courtyard, surrounded on all sides by our building, with one door entering and exiting the area. As of now, the door remains locked with "Not An Exit" sign posted on it. Our management team would like to open the area to our visitors and came to me for LS concerns. From my perspective, we would need to look at Life Safety issues involving entering the area and look at adding an ‘Exit’ sign, inside the courtyard above the door that goes back into the hospital. Is there anything else that could pose a concern?
A: Beside the ‘Exit’ sign over the door from the courtyard, the courtyard would have to have constant illumination and the door from the courtyard to the indoors must be unlocked all the time. The walking surface in the courtyard must be level with no abrupt changes in elevation greater than ¼ inch. Also, the “Not An Exit” sign is incorrect; the sign must read “NO EXIT” with the word “NO” 2 inches tall and the word “EXIT” 1 inch tall.
The courtyard will also need to have fire alarm occupant notification devices (suitable for outdoor applications) based on the premise that staff will be positioned in the courtyard from time to time.