The University of Toronto Mississauga library opened a new emergency exit in October to fulfill fire department regulations.
The second exit is located along the main glass wall and is for emergency use only. The fire exit had to be installed to increase access to the fire hose outside the library in the Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) hallway in cases of emergency.
In an emailed statement, Chief Librarian Shelley Hawrychuk said “the door was put in because we needed access to the fire hose that is situated in the Library near those doors, and the hose needed to be accessible for use in the Link.
“So, for instance,” said Hawrychuk, “if there was a fire in Starbucks a hose was not accessible.”
In addition to addressing safety concerns, the installation of an additional library exit provided UTM with the most cost-effective way to fulfill the fire code regulations.
“There were two options—make a door there from the library to pull the hose through or set up a new hose system somewhere near Starbucks within the link. That would be very expensive because of the need for water,” Hawrychuk continued.
Hawrychuk said the new emergency exit was beneficial to the library as well because it “created another fire exit on the main floor of the library. The main doors of the Library are not technically fire doors, so it was felt that another fire door from the Library was optimal.”
This is not the first time the library has been forced to renovate to meet fire code regulations. In the 2017-2018 school year, a number of desks were moved out of the library to the second floor of the adjoining CCT building to disperse students.
In an interview with The Medium that same year, Chief Librarian Shelley Hawyrchuk said “there was over-capacity from a fire code perspective. There were more people in the building than we were allowed to have, so we moved some seating across campus.”
The library is continuing to work to meet fire code regulations.