2.1.4 Emergency Egress
Each tower was provided with three independent emergency fire exit stairways, located in the core of the building, as indicated in Figure 2-12. Two of these stairways, designated Stairway 1 and Stairway 2, were 44 inches wide and ran to the 110th floor. The third stairway, designated Stairway 3, had a width of 56 inches and ran to the 108th floor. The stairways did not run in continuous vertical shafts from the top to the bottom of the structure. Instead, the plan location of the stairways shifted at some levels, and occupants traversing the stairways were required to move from one vertical shaft to another through a transfer corridor. Both Stairways 1 and 2 had transfers at the 42nd, 48th, 76th, and 82nd levels. Stairway 1 had an additional transfer at the 26th level and Stairway 3 had a single transfer at the 76th level. After the 1993 bombing, battery-operated emergency lighting was provided in the stairways and photoluminescent paint was placed on the edge of the stair treads to facilitate emergency egress.
Figure 2-12. Floor plan of 94th and 95th floors of WTC 1 showing egress stairways.
There were 99 elevators in each of the two towers, including 23 express elevators; however, the express elevators were not intended to be used for emergency access or egress. There were also several freight elevators servicing groups of floors in the buildings. The several elevators that served each floor were broken into two groups that operated on different power supplies.
Upon alarm activation, an automatic elevator override system commanded all elevators serving or affected by a fire area to immediately return to the ground floor, or to their sky lobby (44th and 78th floors). From there, the elevators could be operated manually by the FDNY. Although many fire departments routinely use elevators to provide better access in high-rise buildings, FDNY does not do this, because there have been fatalities associated with such use.