Can you imagine becoming trapped in a building? At the recent A.L.O.A. New Orleans convention, I stayed at the Hilton Hotel. On Thursday evening, I started to walk down the stairs from my third floor room. I often use the stairs to exit instead of the elevator. Like most, this stairwell was lit, concrete, with metal handrails and dusty, having the appearance of almost no foot traffic.
I walked down to the bottom expecting to find the exit. Instead, the corridor lead into an unlit room. Light was entering through the grated louvers on some very tall hollow metal doors. The room had collected debris including a cart. I could hear people on the other side of the doorway.
I attempted to exit pressing the push pad. The door would not open. Neither would any of the other doors. A bit of movement in the doors, told me they were painted shut. As I turned around, I saw another doorway next to the one I entered. Going through this doorway, I found one door locked and then a second locked door, no exit.
I realized my only exit would be through the painted doors. I thought about shouting out to a passerby. But decided against the idea as who would be willing to help a voice calling out "Help, I'm locked in".
I tried shouldering the doors but to no avail. I gained my escape using the carts' additional weight to force open a door, breaking the paint seal.
I believe that every door should be examined at least annually. And I am now reconsidering using the stairs.
This example shows the importance of being a Fire Door Inspector.