Augmenting Access Control With Exit Alarms

April 1, 2013
An alarm function can be part of an integrated solution such as an exit device, delayed egress, access control, or security alarm.

A variety of devices are used to provide local alarm annunciation on doors. The alarm can be a standalone device with its own power source and audible signally device, or centrally connected for power or to transmit a signal to another location. The alarm function can be part of an integrated solution such as an exit device, delayed egress, access control, or security alarm.

The alarm is used as a deterrent to unauthorized door use or to assist responders to locate the point of violation. These alarms are tools to help reduce shoplifting, and also to provide protection to patients and students.

Door alarms provide a signal when the door is opened without authorization. The door may have been opened while someone was attempting to exit, when someone has attempted to enter or if a door has been forced or propped open. Door alarms also can alert violations of anti-passback policy (someone attempts to use a credential inappropriately)

Applications for door alarms include:

  • Hospitals, Custodial & Healthcare: To monitor movements of patients and clients
  • Retail: To discourage pilferage and the misuse of emergency exits (loss prevention)
  • Warehouses: To reduce inventory shrinkage
  • Municipal & Public Buildings/Spaces: To control movement through doors which might lead to dangerous or proprietary areas such as utility rooms, fire escapes or rooftops without having to physically lock the doors, thereby eliminating them as a means of emergency egress.
  • Schools & Nurseries: To control and monitor children’s’ movements and keep them within the premises.
  • Hotels & Multiple Occupancies: To mitigate potential dangers from insecure openings, and passback of unauthorized individuals.

Examples of exit and door alarms include:

  • Electronic Access Control systems with provisions for exit alarm annunciation
  • Standalone audible exit alarms
  • Audible exit alarms with integral locking
  • Locking exit devices with audible exit alarms
  • Other locking devices with exit alarms and delayed egress

Standalone access controls, whether key, keypad or credential based, are typically unable to provide real-time reporting or local audible annunciation. Even with those systems which provide audit trails of legal and illegal door usage, the information must be uploaded and evaluated.

A door alarm system may be implemented which will not only provide a visual and/or audible alert if a violation occurs, but can also trigger a CCTV camera to record the event and enable it to be viewed from CCTV monitors or even workstations on the network virtually anywhere.

Equipping a door alarm system with a wireless alarm transmitter further extends the functionality of the door alarm, the access control system and the perimeter alarm system. 

STI-6400 Series Exit Stoppers

Safety Technology International’s highly effective Exit Stopper can serve as an inexpensive security device and help stop theft by alerting you to any unauthorized exits or entries through emergency exit doors.

How it works: If the protected door is opened, the Exit Stopper emits an ear piercing alarm for 30 seconds, three minutes or continuously (as preset by the user). A key-operated override will silence the alarm and allow authorized exits. The unit can be set for a 15-second delay before arming or tripping. Exit Stopper “Always Active” allows the key holder to reset the alarm, but does not allow the alarm to be turned off.

The Exit Stopper is powered by a 9 VDC alkaline battery. It is available in red or green for almost any type of door, mounting or installation, including remote placement of the alarm (not for outdoor use). The unit is completely self-contained.

Also available is the STI-6400WIR supervised wireless 433 MHz (with 4 or 8-channel receiver) Exit Stopped, with a line of sight range of up to 1,000 feet.

These units are easy to install, less expensive than heavy horizontal bar type units and practical for all emergency doors. They carry a three-year guarantee against breakage of polycarbonate in normal use (one year on electro mechanical and electronic components).

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Securitech Trident™

The Securitech Trident™ is a multi-point locking solution designed to keep inventory in the store and keep burglars out of the store, designed so that it can be integrated into virtually any application.

The standard Trident is an exit lock. In order to panic hardware requirements (generally for larger occupancies), Securitech extends the length of the paddle and also do a return on the end of the push bar where fire hoses cannot get caught. Trident has California State Fire Marshal approval. With self locking, extended paddle, return and fire rated Trident is a fully compliant unit for use on fire doors in corridors and etc. A self-locking exit lock unit can be upgraded to an exit device just by swapping out the paddle for the extended one.

Trident alarms are mounted on the wall, not the door. When the door is opened, the sound stays in the facility, not out into the parking lot.

Securitech offers both battery and hardwired units. The Battery version (TEL-AG1) is popular because it does not require wiring. In new construction with electrical trade on site, the hardwired (TEL-AG2) is often selected.

Some retailers choose battery for retrofit and hardwired for new construction. Most order with key capture where the bolts need to be thrown before key can be removed or alarm sounds. This makes sure the manager or another employee does not leave the alarm turned off when they are not there. It can be ordered with on/off feature.

A door position switch is available so the customer knows the door is closed and bolts are locked. This signal then goes to their access control system as a monitored point. The unit has separate monitoring output option if needed for interfacing with other alarms (whether or not you use the Trident alarm), CCTV or other. A remote or louder horn (e.g. large warehouses) option is available.

Trident works with a standard mortise cylinder, so all major key and core systems.

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Securitron Door Prop Alarm

If your application involves other systems, the Securitron Model DPA Door Prop Alarm is designed to provide functionalities to meet more stringent requirements.

The DPA series consists of a multifunction microprocessor-controlled timer. Its primary function is a sophisticated door prop alarm with numerous functions and options that permit tailoring its alarm functions to the specific requirements of the end user. It is available as a circuit board mounted on snap track via the part numbers: DPA-12 and DPA-24. It is also available in a lockable steel enclosure with Sonalert and LED mounted, via the part numbers: BA-DPA-12 and BA-DPA-24. Applications for the DPA series include doors with or without electric locks installed.

Features include:

• Multi-functional timer

• Three separate outputs which can provide local and remote signaling

• User selectable time intervals

• Bypass and Duress alarm function

• Available in 12 and 24 VDC

• Current draw 100mA at 12VDC / 50 mA at 24VDC

• Lockable enclosure

• LED indicator of alarm status

• Audible sounder

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Detex Tailgate Detection System

Door alarms can also annunciate inappropriate entries. For 24-hour gyms where customers use their membership credentials to gain entry at all houses, it is desirable to be sure these paid privileges are not abused.

The Detex AT-5200 Series Tailgate Detection System assures that only one individual enters a secured doorway for each authorized card read. Because it is compatible with most card reader technologies, the AT-5200 is easy to retrofit. It mounts easily on standard door frames.

If piggy-backing occurs, it sends a signal to notify the owners. Typically the AT-5200 will connect to an alarm input on the DVR which is set up to log alarms and also send an email to management.

Features include:

• Integrated door prop alarm for additional security.

• High throughput, easy entry or exit for authorized personnel

• ADA compliant

• Blends in with architectural styling

• Local control/annunciator; unauthorized access/egress is annunciated locally and with the access control system

• Key switch for local alarm shunt/ override

• Alarm can be reset through an on-board timer

• Mounts on standard width door frame or wall

• Spacer mounting kit standard, can be used as a raceway for wiring

• Alarm can be reset by a remote contact

• Remote annunciator plates, fit in a single gang box

• Status indicator lights (Wait or Proceed) Field configurable for card in/card out or card in/free exit operation

• Adjustable access period

• Alarm status relays for remote annunciation

• Tamper Switch

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Von Duprin GUARD-X

Von Duprin offers an extensive line of panic and exit devices along with modules to adapt them for virtually any application. The Von Duprin GUARD-X provides secure, alarmed code-compliant protection for secondary exits. GUARD-X exit alarm lock readily identifies the door on which it is mounted as an emergency exit and secures the opening against unauthorized use. It is ideal for deterring theft in restaurants and retail establishments such as discount stores, grocery stores, drug stores, clothing stores and sporting goods stores.

The new Series 2670 Exit Alarm Lock provides secure protection through a large stainless steel deadbolt, which is 2" x 1/2" (51mm x 13mm) and has over a 3/4" (19mm) throw. The engagement area into the strike is over 1-1/4 (32mm) square inches. The cast aluminum latch case protects the internal mechanism and resists tampering or vandalism from inside the door. This unit has been tested to withstand up to 1600 pounds of static load force against the door.

GUARD-X does not allow relatching or resetting the alarm after an unauthorized exit, other than by an authorized person with a key. A 100-decibel alarm provides a clear, attention-getting warning for an unauthorized exit or attempted exit. The armed indicator light informs the owner that the alarm is armed, and an audible low-battery alert signals the owner to replace the battery when necessary.

GUARD-X complies with the NFPA 101® Life Safety Code. It is UL listed for Panic Exit Hardware (UL305) and tested in accordance to ANSI A156.3 Grade 1 Panic Hardware (250,000 cycles).

The Von Duprin ALK Alarm Kit is a simple and effective way to deter unauthorized use of an Emergency exit door, ideal for use on perimeter doors in restaurants, libraries,  retail stores and other commercial business applications.

Kits are available for 98, 99, 33A, 35A and 22 series exit devices and for all mounting types; rim, mortise and vertical rod. The kit is self-contained and replaces an existing dogging cover. Installation is simple; remove the end cap and bracket, slide the dogging cover out and insert the ALK kit. Re-install the end cap and bracket, and the installation is complete. Arming and disarming operation is by use of a standard 1-1/4” mortise cylinder. Hardwired installation is also available.

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About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.