Types of Exit Devices and Alarms

types of exit devices and alarmsPerhaps the most important mechanisms in any commercial building are alarm systems and exit door devices. While we of course want to keep intruders out of our businesses, we don’t want to find ourselves in situations where we need to quickly exit a building and the exit device has failed or being completely unaware that there’s a situation in the first place.

In situations such as a fire, gas leak or other dangerous scenarios, it’s vitally important that you have a reliable alarm system and an unfailing exiting mechanism on every door. We’ll go into both components in more detail in this post.

Exit Devices

What qualifies as an exit device?

And exit device is meant to activate the door latch to release it allowing the door to open. The most typical exit device for commercial use is an exit bar. Even without an exit sign posted, most people will be able to recognize that this door leads outside, due to the presence of the exit bar.

Exit devices generally comply with fire and life safety codes and building codes. Requiring that equipment meet specific standards, purchasing a device which has been compliant with NFPA 80, NFPA 101 and IBC, BOCA, and SBC will ensure that you’re using a quality exiting device.

Types of Exit Devices

There are 4 primary types of exit devices: rim, mortise, surface mounted vertical rod and concealed vertical rod.

  • Rim: Having only a single latch point, the mechanisms of a rim exit device are applied to the door’s surface and are simple to install.
  • Mortise: Utilizing a single latch point, a mortise lock requires a mortise (a hole cut into the edge of the door) and it’s corresponding tenon to be operated by the exiting device.
  • Surface mounted vertical rod: Containing 2 latching points, one each at the top and bottom of the door itself, has a few more pieces to install but is done on the surface of the door. 
  • Concealed vertical rod: Like the surface mounted vertical rod, the concealed version has 2 latching points but at the bolt and the rod. This is a bit trickier to install, but all components are concealed within the door.

Exit Alarms

No matter how good your exit devices are, if you’re unaware of potential dangers you could find yourself in big trouble. There are varying alarm systems that will trip depending on what they’re sniffing for.

Types of Exit Alarms

  • Combustible gas: Many harmful, and very likely deadly, gasses are undetectable by the human nose. Gasses such as carbon monoxide can quickly incapacitate a person and eventually kill them. Combustible gas detectors can warm you if there are harmful levels of carbon monoxide, propane, methane, butane and other harmful natural gasses inside your building. Several states require that buildings have at least a carbon monoxide detector, but if you’re going to install one it’s best to go with an alarm that detects a wide range of chemical gases. 
  • Fire and smoke: Every building, residential or commercial, bust be outfitted with a fire and smoke detector. Many times, people are not aware of fired in their buildings until they see or smell it themselves and quite often it can be too late to escape. Placing fire and smoke detectors in every hallway and room of your building will help ensure that if there is a fire, you’ll have enough time to safely exit.

Entry Alarms

Not all safety hazards will come from the inside. If you operate a high security facility or if you’re in the business of selling valuable items, installing entry alarm systems is a must. Outfit each building access point with a keyless electronic entry system that will sound if breached. Even if you do not have high value items in your building, it is suggested that such an alarm be installed on back doors and non-main entries.

Once you’ve gotten everything installed from quality exit devices to your various alarm systems, stay on top of maintaining them. Check batteries regularly in wall devices and make a habit of checking door mechanisms routinely.

Looking for help installing an exit or entry system on your commercial business? Kenny’s Lock can handle all of your commercial locksmith needs!

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