to main content Exit Stairwell -Items In Stairwells | Hospital and Hospital Clinics | Life Safety LS | The Joint Commission
Exit Stairwell -Items In Stairwells

What are the restrictions on items being mounted or installed in exit enclosures such as stairwells?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.  

The Joint Commission uses the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. For consistency, no equipment is allowed in an exit enclosure (exit stairwell) that could interfere with its function as an area of refuge in accordance with section 7.1.3.2.3.  This would include evacuation chairs/sleds.  

Security cameras, card readers, Wi-Fi routers and repeaters can be in the exit enclosure, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the use of the exit and is used for surveillance of the exit enclosure. In accordance with 7.1.3.2.1, systems in an exit enclosure are limited to systems that support the functionality of the exit enclosure in new health care and ambulatory health care occupancies.  

Any penetrations into the rated exit enclosure must be sealed with a fire stop material that is appropriate to the rating of the enclosure.  Properly protected system penetrations into existing (prior to July 5, 2016) exit enclosures are acceptable as long as they were part of the original construction and no alterations have since been made; once an alteration has been made, the current code should be followed.  

Reference LS.02.01.20 EP 13, LS.03.01.20 EP 11  
Last updated on July 01, 2020
Manual: Hospital and Hospital Clinics
Chapter: Life Safety LS

If no, please comment on how we could improve this response.

If you have additional standards-related questions regarding this topic, please use the Standards Online Submission Form
Surgeons in an operating room

Additional Resources

Train your staff with a tool to quickly and efficiently assess standards compliance with our 2021 Hospital Compliance Assessment Workbook.

A group of medical professionals have a discussion in a meeting room

Hospital Webinars

Keep learning with our Hospital Breakfast Briefings Webinar Series. Get a deep dive into our standards, chapter-by-chapter, individually or as a team.

Female doctor using digital tablet in her office.

Looking for Standards?

Get key information your hospital needs to achieve and maintain continuous standards compliance and experience operational improvement.