Obstructing fire escapes is against the law; they must be kept absolutely clear. No TV wires or antennas, plants, storage containers, or anything else may be kept on fire escapes.
For security, residents are allowed to install window gates on windows that lead to a fire escape. However, only gates approved by the Fire Department are permitted on these windows. No padlocks may be used. Some gates have self-releasing locks that are approved. For more information and to get the names of approved gate manufacturers, contact the fire department.