Emergency exits in your business must be unlocked, well-lit, safe and free from any obstruction at all times.

Usually, each floor of a building has doors that lead directly outside or to a fire escape that leads outside.

There must be an exit in your business that leads directly outside or an exit from a common hallway leading to a fire escape that leads outside.

Doors leading outside, doors leading to fire escapes and the doors of your commercial space, as well as doors leading to a common hallway are your emergency exits.


Emergency exits must be free from obstruction at all times. Items such as boxes, furniture, shelves, displays, plants, clothing or shoes must never be stored in front of an emergency exit, nor should surplus inventory obstruct an emergency exit - even temporarily. 

The doors leading to emergency exits must not have locks, bars or other devices that could be locked from the inside. They could be locked with people in the building, slowing down or keeping people from leaving your business or the building itself quickly in the event of an emergency. 

As well, doors of common hallways leading to fire escapes must be kept closed at all times. If there is a fire, this will keep smoke from spreading into common areas that you will need to use to evacuate the building. 

Identification and visibility

Sometimes, it is required to place signs reading "SORTIE" or "EXIT" above the building's emergency exits. Most of the time, these signs are illuminated. Be sure to replace lightbulbs in these signs as needed; they should be illuminated whenever the building is occupied. 

Generally, your emergency exits and the path to them should be well-lit, facilitating evacuation in the event of an emergency. This is generally not a problem if your power supply is stable and all lighting fixtures are well-maintained and working well. 

However, if you should lose power during a fire, the path to your emergency exits must remain safe and well-lit. An emergency lighting system must be installed that will take over when the power goes out. Emergency lighting must be properly maintained, and you should check them monthly using the test button.