Fire shutters and fire drills at 41 Cooper Square

A number of rumors have been circulating about the fire shutters surrounding the atrium in 41 Cooper Square. Concerns have also been expressed about delayed evacuation given the lack of familiarity with the fire stairs.

In the event of a fire, the fire shutters will not trap anyone in the core (atrium) of the building. The fire shutters close automatically in the event of a fire, in order to prevent smoke from getting into the atrium and from there into other floors. In terms of the flow of people through the building, on the 4th floor, the fire shutters prevent people from using the grand stair, which is NOT a means of egress from the building during an evacuation. On higher floors, the fire shutters prevent the use of the atrium stairs – the spiral stairs that go from floor 9 to 8, 8 to 7, 6 to 5, and 5 to 4 (there is no atrium stair from 7 to 6).

Some of you have seen the fire shutters close under “power” and were concerned that they dropped at a relatively high speed. In the event of a fire, the shutters fall due to gravity, and do not do so quickly. Nowhere in the building do the fire shutters trap you in the core of the building. On the 3rd floor, there is a “stub wall” containing a door to prevent someone from getting trapped between the two shutters. On the 4th floor, if located between the shutters you can walk up the atrium stair to the 5th floor and then exit the building from stairway D or F (described below).

In addition to the fire shutters, there are a number of corridor doors that are normally magnetically latched open. In the event of a fire, these magnetic latches will open, and the doors will shut to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.

In the event of a fire, do not use the atrium stairs or the grand stair. Instead use the staircases in the corners of the building as described below. There are four staircases, labeled A, B, D and F. A photo showing the location of these four stairs has been widely circulated and is reproduced below.

Here is the story of these stairs:
* Stair D, in the northwest corner of the building (above the guard’s desk) takes you directly to the street from floors 3 and higher.
* Stair F, in the southwest corner of the building takes you to the second floor landing from floors 3 and higher. Once you reach the 2nd floor landing, you will walk East through a corridor to stair B, which will take you to the street.
* Stair B, in the southeast corner of the building, works in conjunction with stair F, as described above, but also takes people from LL1 and LL2 to the street.
* Stair A, in the northeast corner of the building, also takes people from the 2nd floor, LL1 and LL2 to the street.

Last modified: Thursday, 21 June 2012, 12:32 PM