Panic Bar Door 101
It’s difficult to imagine your employees and customers in an emergency situation, but for business owners and maintenance professionals, it’s vital to ensure your building (or buildings) is equipped to handle serious events to protect the welfare and safety of everyone inside.
To ensure your building is prepared, it’s helpful to understand all of the ins and outs of panic bar systems and how they assist with emergency egressing.
What is a Panic Bar on Doors?
Panic bars—also known as exit touch bars, rim exit devices, push bars, crash bars, etc.—are horizontal bar devices that replace traditional door locks and handles on the interior side of doors. They’re usually required in highly occupied areas to meet ADA requirements and safety and emergency egress codes, as they allow people safe, efficient access to exits, especially in crisis situations.
How Does a Panic Bar Work?
Panic bars operate with a simple push of the horizontal bar, which activates the mechanism that unlatches the door lock. Particularly beneficial in emergency situations, panic push bars are designed to simplify use and eliminate fumbling with traditional doorknobs or handles. Despite feelings of panic and worry in a crisis, all an individual would need to do is bump into the bar for the door to unlock and open.
Some panic push bars can be used on their own without any exterior access device, creating an exit-only door. There are also plenty of options for businesses and buildings that require their emergency egress doors to operate as a point of entry. Many panic bars are compatible with a variety of exterior door locks and access control systems, including mechanical locks, electronic locks, pin pads, biometric locks, key fob systems, and more!
Can You Lock a Panic Bar?
Most panic bars for doors actually remain in a locked position. This doesn’t mean it prevents people from using the door to exit, however; it just locks entry from the exterior (i.e. the opposite side of the door). If employees need to utilize a locked panic bar door from inside, they simply push the bar to unlock the door and gain exit access.
In some cases, you may require—or local codes and building requirements may instruct—one or more of your doors to remain unlocked during business hours, often for egress doors that also serve as entry points. Most panic push bars can simply be unlocked by pushing the bar in, inserting the dogging key or hex key (i.e. hexagonal key) into a hole in the bar, and turning it to keep the door latch in the open position. This will allow the door to function much like a push/pull door.
Do Panic Bars Need to Be on All Exit Doors?
Knowing what doors require crash bars depends on a variety of factors, including:
● Type of business or industry
● Building layout and room size
● Amount of people anticipated in space (i.e. occupant capacity load)
● Proximity to stairwells
● Regional requirements and code enforcements
Depending on your local building code and fire safety requirements, you may be required to install panic bars on all of your exit doors or just the exit doors that meet certain criteria.
The International Building Code (IBC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are two organizations that determine panic hardware requirements. Each organization has slight variations in requirements; however, in general, panic hardware is required in educational and assembly facilities with an occupancy load of 50 or more for most recent IBC codes and 100 or more for NFPA codes and in all high-hazard facilities. Refer to your local building and safety codes to determine the unique requirements for your building(s) and business.
Let GoKeyless Help You Outfit Your Egress Doors with Reliable Panic Hardware
At GoKeyless, we understand how important equipping your building with the right security and safety hardware is, and we’re here to help you navigate through the various options available.
We offer a range of panic hardware, including simplistic panic bars like the PDG American Eagle 4200, alarmed rim exit devices like the Detex ECL-230D, and various panic bars like the Precision Electric Exit Device that are compatible with several types of exterior door locks and access control systems.
No matter what your business’s needs are, we have security solutions that will ensure the safety and wellbeing of your customers, employees, and tenants are prioritized. For more information, visit our website or contact our security experts today to discuss your business’s safety and security needs!