Panic Devices: Taking the Panic Out of Exiting
Lock security is equally as important for commercial buildings and public spaces as it is for residential properties. However, the locks employed for non-residential areas are strikingly different than the ones you’d find in a typical home. This is because most locking mechanisms utilized for high traffic areas, like businesses, are actually panic devices.
What is a Panic Device?
Panic devices—also known as exit devices, exit hardware, and panic hardware—refer to any piece of equipment that aids in the mass exit from a building in the event of an emergency. The utilization of panic devices in public locations with doors that are frequently utilized is required by law in accordance with local building codes. For example, out-swinging emergency exit doors equipped with panic devices are a means of departure that can be found in just about any school, hospital, office building, shopping center, restaurant, concert hall, and sports arena. The most widely-used panic devices include panic bars, mortise locks, and alarms.
Panic bars are secured metal bars designed to unlatch one-way, exit-only doors with just a push. This type of panic device is a practical exit mechanism since, in addition to offering a smooth exit, it keeps the door locked from the outside to maintain security when there is no emergency.
There are three different kinds of panic bars: the push pad rim device, the cross bar rim device, and the deadlatch push paddle.
The Push Pad Rim Device
Of the three types of panic bars, this one is probably seen the most often. Push pad rim devices, also called touch bars or crash bars, can be installed onto both single and double doors and are typically positioned about 40 inches from the ground. They are very common in commercial buildings and can almost always be found on stairway, corridor, and emergency exit doors.
The Crossbar Rim Device
Crossbars function the same way as push pads, but rather than pushing in to unlatch the door, they press down. They can be fitted onto wood, glass, or metal and (just like any other panic device) prevent the door from being opened from the outside without some sort of special lock installed.
The Deadlatch Push Paddle
The deadlatch push paddle is a type of panic bar that is actually not a bar at all. It is a special kind of lock that, rather than opening with a key or doorknob, opens by pressing down on a flat plate to release the door’s latch.
Mortise locks are a very distinct panic device. These solid metal locks, unlike standard locks, are fitted into the door in a sort of pocket, called a mortise. Most mortise locks have a key cylinder that locks it from the outside and/or a latch to lock it from the inside; this strengthens building security by making it very easy to exit, but exceptionally difficult to enter.
Mortise locks are in high demand for use in commercial buildings because they are sturdier and more reliable than standard lock systems. They are especially suited for businesses with high occupancies since their structure and components are resistant to the wear and tear that comes with constant usage. Additionally, in the event that a mortise lock does need to be serviced, the internal mechanisms are designed for easy removal and replacement.
Like some panic bars, the mortise lock can be installed for both single doors and double doors. When installed for a pair of double doors, the mortise lock is always installed in the active door while the inactive one has either bolts or a vertical rod to keep both doors locked when they are not in use.
An alarm can indicate one of two things: that a breach of security has taken place, or that there is danger and the need for immediate evacuation. Fire alarms triggered by smoke detectors are an example of the latter that can be found in any residential or commercial building. As for the former, most alarms can be installed as independent security measures, but a lot of them can also work in accordance with other panic devices. In fact, many emergency exits are adorned with alarms so that when the door is opened, the alarm sounds off to alert others nearby of an emergency.
Alarms that are used in conjunction with locking mechanisms are often set up in places like emergency exits where leaving a door locked goes against fire safety, while leaving it unlocked threatens building security.
The use of panic devices like panic bars, mortise locks, and alarms are important to any commercial or public building because they allow for a quick and effortless exit in the event of an emergency. At South Shore Locksmith, we offer these and other security system installations to ensure the safety of your business, your building, and most importantly, you and your guests. If you have any questions, would like a security consultation, or need your property equipped with some state-of-the-art panic devices, please call us today at (561) 531-2619.