While you hope you never have to use it, being prepared with a reliable emergency exit is essential for any business or public establishment.
Part of this essential preparation is choosing which material to use for the ramp and/or stair system at each emergency exit. We don’t say this just to toot our own horn, but because our primary goal is to keep individuals using public access solutions safe; aluminum is the most functional and durable material for creating accessible means of egress. Since it’s an incredibly safe ramp and stair material that can easily be used for custom configurations, aluminum is the material we recommend for emergency exit access solutions.
Hazards for Other Materials at an Emergency Exit
Rather than taking our word for it, here are the facts you need to know about each alternative access solution material.
Ramps and stairs made from wood require quite a bit of maintenance after the initial build, because wood rots and warps faster than other materials. This can make your emergency exit inaccessible if individuals can’t easily get down the ramp or stairs. This solution can prove ineffective in extreme circumstances like storms and fires. Wood is not a slip-resistant material and can be dangerously slick when wet. Lastly, wood is obviously not the material you want outside of an emergency exit in the case of a fire as this access solution is highly flammable and runs the risk of becoming unusable when you need it most.
Steel easily rusts over time, especially in wetter climates. This creates an increased need for regular maintenance to ensure the system remains safe. The last thing you need is to worry about whether your access solution is too rusted to support heavy traffic when you’re in need of an emergency exit. So, you can either invest in regular maintenance or invest in a material that doesn’t require maintenance. Keep reading and we’ll tell you more about the latter.
Concrete is a sturdy material for an access solution, however, it isn’t durable in the long run. Over time, concrete expands and condenses based on the outside temperature which leads to cracks and deterioration. These foundational issues make building access solutions out of this material less safe and a cost and labor burden to keep up.
Why Aluminum is the Answer
Aluminum ramp and stair systems will stand up to the harshest of environments, along with repeated, everyday use. This eliminates safety concerns that other materials pose like protruding nails, warped boards, splinters, rotting, and rust. With their slip-resistant surface and smooth, continuous handrails, aluminum ramps and stairs can ensure a safe emergency exit access solution for all individuals.
Bonus: Modular aluminum ramps and stairs also allow for endless configurations, so an emergency exit access solution can be customized for your business. And if your business ever changes locations, the ramp and stairs can be broken down and installed again!
If you’re in the middle of a project requiring a new ingress or egress solution, check out these related articles to help you in the process:
- How to Replace a Wood Wheelchair Ramp in 6 Steps
- How to Determine Ramp Size for Your Location in 4 Steps
- 3 Ways a Commercial Ramp Should Meet ADA Compliance
- Adapting Your Facility for Operation During COVID-19