How To Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Fire Escape

Lake Oconee Boomers

An old and rusty fire escape attached to a red brick apartment building with a sunset in the background.

Ensuring safety in buildings is not just a legal requirement—it is a moral obligation. Among the critical safety features that require vigilant maintenance are fire escapes.

Many old buildings also have old fire escapes, but how can property owners and building managers know when it’s time to replace their fire escapes? We answer that question and address other fire escape issues below!

The Vital Role of Fire Escapes

Fire escapes are crucial for building safety, ensuring occupants can evacuate during a fire. Regular maintenance is essential to guarantee their functionality, as neglect can lead to tragic consequences.

Exposed to harsh weather and heavy use, fire escapes can deteriorate over time, compromising effectiveness. Property managers must recognize when a fire escape needs replacement to ensure safety and avoid legal liabilities. An insufficient and compromised fire escape is a safety hazard to occupants and can land the property manager and owner in legal trouble.

Signs That Your Fire Escape Needs Replacement


Rust and corrosion are common indicators of deterioration. When metal components start to rust, it weakens the overall structure, making it less reliable during an emergency. Regularly inspecting the fire escape for visible rust spots and addressing them promptly can prevent more significant damage.

Steps and Handrail Damage

Loose steps and shaky handrails are also clear signs the fire escape is too old or deteriorated to be safe. These components are critical for safe evacuation. If they are loose, cracked, or missing, the fire escape becomes a hazard rather than a safety feature. Regular maintenance checks should include tightening screws, replacing broken parts, and ensuring that all components are secure.

Peeling Paint

Another way to know when it’s time to replace your fire escape is if the paint is peeling. Paint acts as a protective layer for metal.

When it starts to peel, the fire escape exposes the metal underneath to the elements, accelerating rust and corrosion. Repainting the fire escape periodically can help maintain its structural integrity and prolong its lifespan.

Replacing a Fire Escape

If your property’s fire escape exhibits these signs, it’s likely time for a replacement. Replacing a fire escape is a complex process requiring careful planning and execution. First, you’ll need to research and choose the right fire escape contractor for your property.

Then, owners and managers must obtain a permit from local authorities to ensure it complies with building codes and safety regulations. Submitting detailed plans will expedite approval. With the contractor signed and permits in hand, owners can step back and let the professionals work—cordoning off the site during construction for the safety of occupants.

Keep Your Occupants Safe With an Approved Fire Escape

Maintaining and replacing fire escapes is a critical responsibility for building owners and property managers. Recognizing the signs of deterioration, understanding legal requirements, and executing a replacement project effectively are essential steps in ensuring the safety of building occupants.