Uses & Applications for Exit Devices

Exit devices, also known as panic bars or push bars, are horizontal bars on commercial doors that allow for easy unlocking and exit from a building. You’ve probably used or seen one, as they are standard in many buildings today. There are several  different types of exit devices and alarms as they can serve multiple purposes and be used for various types of buildings. In this post we’ll reiterate the importance of exit devices by going over their various different uses and applications.

Comply with Codes and Laws

Typically, any building in which 50 or more people may gather or assemble is required to have exit devices, per legal and building codes. This is what makes exit devices so important.

Emergency Exiting

One of the chief reasons that exit devices are required by law is because they equip a building for emergencies. Exit devices make it so that a door can be used without much thought — just push and go. This is particularly important in emergency situations in which a large group of people may be panicking and rushing to get out of a building. Since exit devices are required to be at least half the width of the door, pushing against the door by a single person or group of people will cause the door to open.

Fire Safety

One particular emergency that exit devices are catered to is a fire. Not only does an exit device make it easy to get out of a building quickly, but fire rated exit devices will also work to seal off and separate areas of a building to prevent a fire from spreading. Since these doors only open from the inside, re-entry into a building is also sealed off. In fire situations, this helps prevent backdraft caused by the introduction of oxygen into the fire, which can happen if a door is opened or a window is broken. 

Monitor Exits

Exit devices can be used to direct the outgoing traffic for a building. For example, maybe your employees continually go out the back door because it’s closer to their cars, but the building your company rents requires front entry and exit only. This is a way to make sure your employees help your company to stay within your building’s compliance. 

Prevent Theft

Who or what’s exiting a building is sometimes just as (or even more) important than who or what’s entering it. Exit devices that include an alarm system are a great way to prevent theft—whether via shoplifters or employee theft, shoplifting, or people leaving the building who shouldn’t be, such as in childcare centers, nursing homes, or Alzheimer’s centers. By attaching an alarm to an exit device, you will be alerted anytime someone attempts to leave the building through an unauthorized or unmonitored exit.

Keep People Safe

Another scenario for unwanted exits is that of care centers such as daycares, nursing homes, or Alzheimer’s centers. By attaching an alarm to an exit device, you will be alerted anytime someone attempts to leave the building through an unauthorized or unmonitored exit.

Facilitate Traffic

Exit devices also have some more simple uses, such as creating large openings. This is useful for buildings that have high capacity traffic such as concert halls, or that see a lot of large items coming through, such as hospital beds or heavy duty equipment.

While there are many considerations when choosing an exit device for your building, the good news is that they’re an affordable way to add an extra layer of security and safety while complying with building codes and regulations.

4 Important Considerations When Choosing an Exit Device

Updating your doorways’ hardware should always be an item on your building maintenance checklist. After years of repeated use, the mechanisms are bound to need replacing at one point or another. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, consider adding exit devices to your entries if you haven’t already. Modern hardware adds several safety and compliance benefits to your business but not all are best suited for every type of door. Here are some things to consider before committing to an exit device.

What type of door do you have?

The type of door you have will dictate the type of exit device you choose. Exit devices can be fitted to single or double door openings. If you have a double door, you’re able to fit a mullion (a vertical bar separating the doorway down the center between the two doors) to provide latching points for each door. Decide if you mind having the doorway cut in half by this bar. If you want a completely unobstructed doorway when both doors are opened, you’re able to secure both doors without a mullion by using a vertical rod exit device paired with a mortise exit device.

The materials your existing doors are made of will also play a part when selecting your exit devices. Wood, hollow metal and aluminum are usually compatible with all types of exit devices. If you have an aluminum glass door with a narrow stile you’ll need to consult a locksmith to be sure you’ve chosen the right variety of exit device.

Do you need fire rated devices?

Exit devices are separated into two categories: fire rated and non-fire rated. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option, the non-fire rated devices are a good fit. Keep in mind you can only have a fire rated exit device installed if you have a fire rated door. These particular exit devices are manufactured to suit the requirements of fire rated entries. Also, if you’re planning to have electrified dogging you must wire everything through your building’s alarm system that would release the dogging in case of a fire.

Fire rated exit devices are much more secure and provide an added level of protection in case of an emergency. But, if you don’t already have fire rated doors and are not planning to replace existing doors, the non-fire rated devices will get the job done nicely.

Will operational noise be an issue?

If your facility requires a certain level of noise control, you won’t want to purchase a motor operated exit device. Places like dorms, hospitals, doctors offices and educational facilities may find that a motorized mechanism would be too distracting.

Where is the door located?

If your outfitting a doorway that opens to the exterior of the building be sure to purchase an exit device that is weather proof. In cases of extreme weather, mechanisms within an exit device may malfunction. Owning a business in the Boston area, this should be the top priority when making your decision.

There are many variables to consider before purchasing your exit devices and a professional locksmith should always be consulted to ensure you’re making the right choices from the start.

What Are Exit Devices And Why Are They Important?

Every entry and exit to your facility needs to be properly outfitted to allow for ease of access. An important and necessary component is an exit device. There are many options to choose from, some being better suited than others depending on the door location and door type. 

What is an Exit Device?

Exit devices are mounted on the egress side of the door. They’re often called panic bars or push bars and are very important in emergency situations. To activate you simply push the spring loaded bar which unlatches the lock. Exit devices provide a simple, safe way to exit a building so having them installed on all exit doors is a smart move. 

What is the Importance of an Exit Device?

Exit devices serve a few crucial purposes. First, they’re the safest exiting option in emergency situations. Their components are simple lessening the chance of a malfunction and they’re easy for anyone to use. Double check ADA compliance requirements for your area before purchasing an exit device, but most fall under ADA mandate.

Exit devices also supply additional security When installed on exit only doors they ensure the door will remain locked and inaccessible from the outside. They can also be hooked up to your security systems so that your alarms may be activated if the exit device is used. 

Additional Benefits of Exit Devices

Traditional push bars are incredibly affordable. Ranging from about $100 – $300 per exit bar they’re in inexpensive way to add an extra element of safety to your commercial building. Check with your local locksmith if they have preferred vendors for this particular device. A professional will make sure you get the best deal possible.

Adding exit devices to your doors may also give you a break on your insurance rates. Supplementing your building’s security and properly preparing for emergency situations makes you more insurable and will position you for better rates. 

Types of Exit Devices

You have a few choices when it comes to your preferred exit device:

  • Rim Style: this is the most common variety of exit device. A ​​rim style device is surface mounted and has a bolt that fits over surface mounted strike. 
  • Bolt Rim: relatively new, a bolt rim has a deadbolt latching system that extends on top of the strike decreasing the space between the strike and the bolt.
  • Mortise Lock: usually only used on a double door system and installed onto the swinging door. It has a mortise lock in the door pocket in the doors edge and is part of the exit device. 

Installing exit devices should exclusively be done by a professional locksmith. They’ll recommend the best style for your existing doors and insure proper installation. If you’re looking for a professional in the Boston area, contact Kenny’s Locks. 

Choosing an Access Control System for your Business

Deciding how best to arm your business from unwanted intruders or visitors may induce a bit of head scratching over which security option would be the best fit. One of the more popular and effective varieties is the access control system. 

What is an Access Control System?

Access control systems require credentials in order to open your doors. Whether in the form of keyed in passwords, key fobs, biometric scans or physical or electronic keys, these intelligent access systems ensure that only the people you want moving through your doors are able to. 

Types of Access Control Systems

There are many different options when shopping for an access control system for your business. Which you choose, however, is dependent on your specific needs. Options include:

•Keypad access
•Card readers
•Wireless access
•Free-exit systems
•Buzz in system
•Hardware options

Key Considerations Before Install

Before purchasing an access control system, take time to evaluate what it is you truly need. You don’t want to make the mistake of over-buying and spending unnecessarily on a fully loaded security system if it’s not necessary. 

Level of Control 

Access control systems can provide a high level of management throughout your entire facility such as:

•Logging and time stamping employee IDs at time of access
•Restricting access to off-limits areas
•Creating time frames when access is allowed
•Automatic “open” times where doors are unlocked for free access

Installation Type

Some business owners with minimal security needs can get away with less complicated systems, like smartphone operated systems, which can be installed easily without professional assistance. But, most small businesses will find that a more intelligent security option is the better choice which would require a professional installation. There is still a fair amount of preparation required on the part of the business owner, but the assurance you’ll get that your systems are installed correctly is absolutely worth it. 

Security Needs

We mentioned before that you need to understand what your building actually needs in the way of security before choosing an access control system. Consider not only what you need right now but also what you may require down the road. You’ll want to choose a system that is easy to modify or add to if you foresee a future need.

Make a list or diagram of all the entry ways and exits, a list of all employees and vendors who require access, hours of operation and blackout hours, times in which free access is required, etc. A professional is your best resource here as well. Having installed countless systems, they’ll be able to point out items you may not have considered on your own.

The benefits you receive from an access control system cannot be replicated from a simple keyed system alone. With varying options to select from and price ranges to fit nearly every budget, it’s worth looking into if you’re mulling over upgrading your building security.  


How to Choose the Right Door Closer

One of the most important mechanisms installed on your commercial doors is the door closer. Without a proper closer your doors could be slamming shut causing damage to the door and frame or not closing at all letting valuable energy escape and compromising building security.

To ensure you’ve got the proper equipment installed, follow these basic tips before deciding on a door closer.

Questions to Consider

First and foremost, you need to be able to answer these basic questions in order to narrow down your door closer choices:
1) How much traffic does this entrance see?
2) What is the size and weight of the door?
3) What are the backswing requirements?
4) Am I looking to outfit an interior or exterior door?
5) What is my budget?

These will help you determine which direction to start looking in. 

Door Closers Based on Traffic

Some door closers are better for high traffic areas. A durable option is the overhead door closer – best used for medium to heavy traffic – and can be used on either interior or exterior doors. They’re also the most common door closer on the market. The three main types of overhead door closers are:

Regular Arm

Installed on the outside of the door, this door closer juts out from the door frame, never laying flush with the door. However, this is the most power-efficient option available.

Parallel Arm

With an arm that sits parallel with the door when closed, the parallel arm option are most common in schools and commercial buildings as they minimize the opportunity to vandalize doorways. Keep in mind they’re not the most power-efficient.

Top Jamb

If you’ve got a glass or aluminum door frame, a top jamb door closer is your best option. The spring loaded box which enables the door to close on its own is mounted on the face of the doorframe.

Heavy Duty Door Closers

If you’ve got a heavy traffic zone you may consider something a bit more heavy duty in which case a floor-spring or overhead spring closer would be more appropriate. This variety is not visible like the traditional overhead door closer, so if you’re concerned about aesthetics this would also be a good option. 

A floor-spring door closer is great for glass door storefront locations. Installed in the floor, the closer is fitted to the bottom of the door making it less visible. This variety will generally come with an option to leave the door propped open and just provides a more sleek look to your entryways. 

Other Things to Consider

If you have automatic door openers you’ll need to keep these in mind when choosing a door closer. Many automatic door openers have a closing mechanism of their own and installing more hardware on top of that may cause damage to your door.

Building codes will have an impact on the type of door closers you install. Every jurisdiction is different when it comes to building code requirements. Check with the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, American National Standards Institute and the American with Disabilities Act requirements. Each of these resources will keep you within code requirements.  

Don’t forget that just because your doors are now closing perfectly on their own that you still need to install locking mechanisms appropriate for your doors. The doors may be shutting on their own but you’d like them to stay that way!

If you’re interested in equipping your doors with automatic door closers, contact a professional to ensure proper installment.