Each year in early September, we are reminded of the tragic events of 9/11/2001 when the incomprehensible happened. Memories of the shock, the sadness, the grief, the disbelief come back to me each year. Remembering where I was that morning … the thoughts that rushed through my mind … the enveloping horror …
Way back in 1994, I had been inside the World Trade Center NYC emergency staircases extensively when PERMALIGHT® photoluminescent exit path markings got installed in the two high-rise towers. I had chatted with the installers, taken photos of the installation, walked many flights of the staircases. Staircases that suddenly were gone.
Following the tragic events of 9/11, NYC Department of Buildings convened a WTC Building Code Task Force and issued a large range of recommendations that resulted in Local Law 26 of 2004, designed to make NYC buildings safer. More sprinkler enforcement, photoluminescent exit path markings, additional signage where the egress path is not clear, impact-resistant stair & elevator enclosures, emergency action plans for evacuation and quite a number of additional code improvements.
Many of these improvements were later on adopted nationwide by the IBC (International Building Code) and IFC (International Fire Code), including photoluminescent egress path markings.
So out of the tragedy, the sadness, the grief and mourning – new requirements and improved Life Safety Codes evolved that nowadays make buildings safer for all of us!