Doors of all public buildings must open outwards.

823.06 Doors of public buildings to open outward.

All buildings erected in this state for theatrical, operatic, or other public entertainments of whatsoever kind shall be so constructed that the shutters to all entrances to said building shall open outwardly and be so arranged as to readily allow any person inside said building to escape therefrom in case of fire or other accident. Any owner, manager, lessee, or other person having charge of any public building for the use expressed herein who fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

The intent of this law was to ensure that, in the event of fire or other catastrophe, crowds could exit a building as quickly as possible. If doors opened inwards, a mass of people huddled around the door would prevent its opening and therefore trap everyone inside.

  • Halok

    Actually, that’s a necessity in Florida. Since the doors open outward they won’t swing in during heavy winds (much like a hurricane).

  • american

    my doors open inward. shut it.

  • David

    doors that open inward are a fire-hazard. Look up “mgm grand fire.” Dozens of people died as a panicking crowd kept the people by the doors from opening them inwards. Solution: outward swinging doors.

  • Rick

    Most door open outward because there are many elderly people and if they fall in front of the door it makes it much harder to open and help them. Also you may injure the person worse by trying to open the door. The most important reason is so in a hurricane or tropical storm your door won’t be blown in. People should think before calling a law stupid.

  • Michael

    This is the case in most of the U.S. (for public buildings). It’s not stupid at all. I’m in Europe now and it’s a mixed bag, but many buildings have existed for hundreds of years and in many cases the doors themselves are historic monuments, so it’s harder to enforce this sort of thing. Sidewalks are also smaller or non-existent, so it would be dangerous to have a large outward-swinging door on some streets, you might smack a pedestrian or even a passing car or motorcycle! But I imagine even if it’s not required by law, most newly constructed or remodeled public buildings apply this principle. It’s for safety, fire safety and otherwise; in a crowded (i.e., public) place, if there is a panic and everyone needs to get out quickly, an outward-swinging door can be opened even when the door is being mobbed.

    On the other hand, most homes that I’ve seen in the north and central part of the U.S. have inward-swinging doors; indeed, in Wisconsin, an outward-swinging door would be unusual. I suppose you might be able to justify that by saying that there are no hurricanes, but in fact we do have tornadoes; I think it’s more likely for snow, sleet, etc.; if the door is snowed in, you can still open an inward-swinging door, and closing it won’t drag in snow along with the door. An outward-swinging door in this case doesn’t make as much sense for a private residence.

    So, the best solution is applied in each case. Makes perfect sense to me and in fact seems smart 🙂

    (And I think it’s telling that the New Yorker is the only one who’s worried about someone forcing their way into the home/apartment… 😛 Which in any case if it’s an apartment door which opens into a closed hallway, I imagine opens to the inside even in Florida.)

  • Hippie

    Of course the New Yorker is worried, they’re a bunch of disarmed pansies.

  • This is not stupid. It’s a public safety issue. In the event of a panic, or an emergency (think of a fire), a press of people trying to shove their way out can, and will, cause the door to be impossible to open.

    This can, and has, led to deaths, sometimes (as in the Collinwood School Fire, or the Iroquois Theater Fire) dozens.

  • B. Durbin

    Dozens? Try hundreds. And look up the Victoria Hall Disaster. Non-emergency situation; doors opened inwards, fixed so that only one child could go through at a time; over one hundred children crushed to death.

    Because they were giving out prizes.

    Your house door opens inwards because there’s not a crowd situation. Public buildings open outwards because we’ve learned from hard, hard experience. (The Victoria Hall Disaster inspired the implementation of “panic bars”, those push-bar unlatching devices on the insides of doors.)

  • Vlad

    Personally, I enjoy not being crushed to death during evacuations, but what do I know?

  • alex

    why is that… I think they need to get their heads checked

  • cyanmanta

    This law makes perfect sense, actually. Several of my ancestors were involved in the Rhoads Opera House Fire of 1908 in Boyertown, PA. The building was designed with doors that only opened inward, and as a result many people died in the fire because they could not open the doors outward once all the fleeing patrons had crowded up against the exits. 170 people died in that fire; entire families were wiped out. Thanks to contemporary fire code standards, such enormous fatalities are almost unheard of nowadays.

    From what I understand, my great grandmother – a little girl at the time – was able to escape with the help of a family friend, who helped her get out through a window. Had she tried to get out of the theater the same way everyone else had, I might not even be here today. This was one of many disasters that led to these sorts of fire code regulations becoming the norm.

  • lizzie

    This is actually required for all states in the country per bldg codes for safety reasons.

  • Mukhtiar

    Mostly doors are attached with staircases, don’t you think if all the doors open outward, it would hurt someone passing from, or would block partly the stair case. I think only Emergency Exits used for evacuation purpose must be outward direction, instead of normal entrance/exit doors. Can we find any law which supports this idea…..