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A Question About Exits 18 Jul 2002 11:04 #27867

  • poppajoe
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What are the required number of exits per auditorium capacity? I read an article that was about a blocked exit in a theater and it got me to wondering about the issue.
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Re: A Question About Exits 18 Jul 2002 12:47 #27868

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Number and size of exits are a function of capacity of the theatre. All local codes are different so this is all speculation on my part.

I have heard that if your room has a capacity of 49 or under, you don't need an additional exit. Most theatres with capacity of 50-499 seem to have one additional exit at or near the screen. Usually if a theatre has a capacity of over 500 or a balcony there will need to be an exit on each side of the screen, at the back of each side of the auditorium and at least two ways out of the balcony.

With exits in a movie theatre it is wise to build a light trap. That is an exit in to a hallway and then an exit outside. This way the outdoor light can't come in to the auditorium and wash out the screen and kids have a harder time holding open two exits instead of one.

An exit pathway or hallway may not be used to store anything at all. Not a ladder, or a roll or toilet paper. It must be clean and clear. Panic bars on exit doors must open with no more than 15 pounds of force exerted on them.
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Re: A Question About Exits 18 Jul 2002 18:21 #27869

That is pretty much the Exit code in our area except they would like additional one no matter what the size number of seats for the ease of exiting during emergencies
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Re: A Question About Exits 18 Jul 2002 23:06 #27870

  • Ken Layton
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In some localities number of exits is also governed by how many seats in a row and/or how many aisles you have. Always check with your local fire dept. and building dept. for regulations that would apply to your theater.
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Re: A Question About Exits 06 Aug 2002 13:50 #27871

  • mesbursmith
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Poppajoe

Most communities in the United States are governed by one of the three National building codes; BOCA, UBC or SSBC. The exit requirements vary slightly from one to the other. As well, many states or large cities (New York, Chicago) have there own codes based on the national codes, but with some local modifications. You must check with the local municipality to get these requirements.

That being said, in general an auditorium of less than 50 or 60 seats doesn't require an emergency exit. Up to 300 seats, an entrance and one emergency exit geberally suffice. Over 300 seats a third exit should be incorporated.
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