Very High Capacity Emergency Escape Stairs at IKEA Burbank

A luxury of living in the Los Angeles area is having my choice of IKEA furniture stores. Loved worldwide, many fans have to make a long drive to their nearest IKEA (some of them crossing national borders to do so) but I have several within easy driving distance to choose from.

I typically get my IKEA fix at their Covina location, but recently I had some time to kill near their Burbank location and decided to stop by and check it out. “IKEA Burbank” moved from another building within the past few years to this new building. I’m sure this meant updates conforming to the latest building codes, but nothing stood out in the interior. It felt much like any other IKEA from the inside.

There are a few interesting notes outside, though. The parking lot featured ample wheelchair access and other modern amenities like electric car charging stations. Sadly the latter were occupied by selfish people who parked their non-electric cars in those spots. A roundabout managed traffic at the entrance, hopefully not too confusing to American drivers.

But what really caught my eye were the emergency escape stairways. Most emergency escape stairs are narrow and steep affairs that, in the best of times with no pressure, would be challenging to traverse. I hate to imagine who would get trampled on those stairs when flooded with panicked people in a rush.

These stairs, in contrast, are gigantic. Easily at least triple the width of any other escape stairways I’ve ever noticed outside of buildings. I associate stairs of this size more with prime locations within Disneyland, who are masters at crowd flow management. These stairs are wider than associated doorways, which makes sense as people can go through doorway faster than they can walk down stairs, requiring wider stairways to accommodate the same volume of bodies. Everything looks well set up for a speedy and orderly evacuation from this showroom warehouse.

It looks like a great contingency that most visitors will never notice, and as much as I’m fascinated by this design, I hope we never need to test the emergency evacuation capacity of this IKEA.

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