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Fire escape from basement

I have a 1926 Craftmen home with a full basement entered by stairs off the kitchen. The laundry area is near the stairwell. I need some ideas for fire escape in the event of dryer or kitchen fires. The previous owners installed glass block windows with vents only.

Re: Fire escape from basement

Install a basement egress window well. Here's some info-


Re: Fire escape from basement

I understand wanting to have egress from the basement, but all the codes I'm aware of only require it if the area is used for sleeping. Generally a fire will be observed quick enough so that you can exit by the stair unless you are asleep.

Re: Fire escape from basement

Although many codes call for egress only if you have a bedroom, some codes demand that you have an egress window if you finish your basement and plan to use it as additional living space (home offices, home theater, kids play room).

Some codes will require an egress even if all you want to do is clean things up a bit with some wall panels and some flooring. I recently met someone who lives in an area under such code.

Be sure you check to see what are the code requirements in your area.

However, even if the code does not call for an egress in your case, I'd install one anyway. If you are planning to spend some time in the basement, you don't want to be in a place where the only way out is through the kitchen.

If the kitchen is on fire (that is where most house fires start), how would you ever get out?

Re: Fire escape from basement

You probably figured this out by now, but the word "egress" is a fancy word that the codes use that means "exit."

Generally, the requirements for egress are pretty specific, but I don't know the codes. In the case of a window, it must be operable with an opening of a certain size; having to break the glass isn't permissible. No more than such-and-such height above the floor, no more than so far above the ground outside, and if in a well, the well must be a certain size. If in doubt, sketch up a plan and ask your inspector if it will work.

Installing an egress in an existing basement may require cutting into the concrete.

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