In a fire or other emergency situation, a large number of people may need to exit a room or area quickly. A large group of people funneled into a hallway may count on one door to allow them an immediate exit from the building. Obviously a doorknob and deadbolt is not the best hardware to handle this...
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In a fire or other emergency situation, a large number of people may need to exit a room or area quickly. A large group of people funneled into a hallway may count on one door to allow them an immediate exit from the building. Obviously a doorknob and deadbolt is not the best hardware to handle this situation. Under extreme pressure to exit, a knob or lever may bind, preventing the door from opening at all. In addition if the deadbolt is locked, two actions need to occur to open the door. Someone must unlock the deadbolt and turn the knob.
What is needed is an exit device.
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) Guide to Builders Hardware Terminology describes it this way:
EXIT DEVICE – (Also called panic device, panic hardware, panic bolt and crash bar.) A type of lock having an inside release bar. When depressed, the release bar (called crossbar, push pad, etc.) retracts the latch bolt, thus permitting the door to be opened. Most codes require that the activating portion of the release mechanism extend not less than halfway across the door. A dogging device allows the release bar to be locked down so that the latch bolt remains retracted and the door can be used as a “push-pin” door. They may or may not be key operated. These devices have been investigated for panic use and are listed by a nationally recognized independent testing laboratory and are also under in-plant and follow-up inspection service. They may not be used on fire doors.
FIRE EXIT HARDWARE – These are exit devices which have been labeled for use on fire doors. Dogging devices are not permitted on fire exit hardware as fire doors must have an active latch. When inspecting exit devices on fire doors, look for two labels, one for panic and one indicating the device is fire exit hardware. The label on the fire door itself should also indicate that it is a fire door suitable for use with fire exit hardware.
A number of questions need to be answered in order to determine what type of panic bar is needed in a given situation:
What size is the door? (A common 3-0 X 7-0 door is three feet wide and 7 feet tall)
Is it a wood, hollow metal or aluminum frame glass door?
Is it a single door or double door?
If it is a double door, is there a center mullion?
Is there any glass in the door?
Where does the door lead? (Some doors that lead to the outside are not labeled.)
Is the door a labeled fire door?
Wood or hollow metal (steel) doors both use the same type of locking hardware, usually surface mounted rim and vertical rod devices. Aluminum framed glass storefront doors have special narrow stile exit devices. The metal framework or stile width will determine of a storefront door will determine which models will fit.
Once you determine what style, size and type of exit device you will use, decide on the outside trim. A blank plate will cover any existing holes in the door, but will not allow access from the outside. A pull plate, keyed cylinder, knob or lever trim may be the best choice when outside access is required by your customer.
To meet the variety of local, regional and national codes, involve the AHJ. Your local government fire marshal and/or building inspectors are constantly updated on fire, life safety codes and changes. The final determination to meet applicable codes is made by the governing bodies in the location of the job.
Prior to meeting, contact your local locksmith wholesaler and discuss the installation.
STANDARD MECHANICAL EXIT DEVICES
Standard (non fire rated) exit devices can be locked down or open with a dog down feature. This allows a door to remain in an open or unlocked position during an extended period, accomplished by pressing the bar to retract the latch, then turning a special dogging hex key to secure the bar. In some applications a keyed rim or mortise cylinder is used in place of a dogging hex key.
When a bar is dogged down, the door can be opened by pushing it or pulling it from either side. Neither the outside trim nor the bar itself must be activated.