View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Means of rapid egress from a building, primarily intended for use in case of fire. Building codes define an exit as an enclosed and protected path of escape in the event of a fire, leading from an exit access through a combination of corridors, stairways, and doors to an exit discharge at an exterior court or public way. The term fire escape usually refers to open iron or steel balconies with steep stairways on the outside of buildings; often a retrofit of older buildings, these are rare in new construction. Other means of escape are by balconies leading to adjacent buildings, or through chutes, often used in hospitals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on fire escape, visit Britannica.com.