Is it a problem to store equipment or materials in hallways?

The answer, in most cases, is most definitely yes! Storage of equipment or materials in hallways, even on a temporary basis, can seriously impact the safety of building occupants and first responders. Consider, for example, that if a fire occurs, visibility will be greatly reduced. If you are trying to exit the building--perhaps by crawling on the floor to minimize your exposure to smoke--those items in the hallway could impede your ability to get out quickly. Or, if they're easily movable (rolling carts, for example) and you bump into them, they could actually obstruct your exit access.

Also, during a fire the first responders may be dragging fire hose down the corridor. If there is storage or easily moved equipment located in the hallway, the hose could catch on these stored items and either obstruct the hallway of impede response efforts.

In general, any furniture located in the means of egress must be approved for that location. When doing our evaluation, EHS will look at the configuration of the hallway, the construction and materials used in the furniture, if applicable, and other factors. If you are planning to place equipment or furniture in hallways or lobbies, please contact EHS first to make sure your plan is appropriate and safe. And, never store anything in stairwells!