How Do Hotel Handicap Emergency Entry Buttons Work?

Take a look at this hotel door:

This Onity Advance RFID lock is an offline, NFC credential style lock.

If it's offline, how does this emergency override/unlock button work?  By design, you don't need a card, you just mash the button to gain access.  How can this be secure?

I pestered the manager until I found out, but I am curious to hear your guesses and inputs.

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I'll post my findings later in the week to not leave you wondering, if no one guesses before.

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I'll post my findings later in the week to not leave you wondering...

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Smartphone needed?

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Nope. There are NFC cards handed out at the front desk, just like magstripes in other hotels.

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  1. Press button for 5 seconds
  2. Loud sound/flashing lights triggered inside room
  3. Person on the inside presses button/other to unlock door
  4. Access granted
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I'm missing something.

This button looks like it is on the outside/secure side of the door. What makes a handicap room different that it requires a special emergency access button on the secure side? It seems like for hotel staff, it would work the same as any other door with a housekeeping/staff card that would open the door. For a caregiver staying at the same hotel in a different room, their card would be programmed to open this door too.

I guess I can't figure out HOW the button works if I don't even know WHY it is there in the first place.

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I agree with U1. I believe it is just a doorbell and/or light flasher.

No integration to the door/lock.

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Does it ring a buzzer at the front desk, then somebody needs to walk to the room to open the door?

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Brian Rhodes?

 

Answer?

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Wow, not sure why the answer isn't posted.  I either forgot or it got deleted.

These responses are generally correct:  

 

I agree with U1. I believe it is just a doorbell and/or light flasher. No integration to the door/lock.

Undisclosed Integrator #3 

Does it ring a buzzer at the front desk, then somebody needs to walk to the room to open the door?

 

 

In the case of this particular room, pushing the button fired off a strobe and warbling siren inside the room.

The room itself is equipped with an acoustic-linked indexed smoke detector.  It is the kind that goes off if it 'hears' another siren alarming nearby.  Because it is indexed, the front desk knows the specific room where the alarm happens.

It is crazy, but this system uses a false-negative smoke alert to notify the front desk of a handicap request.

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It is crazy, but this system uses a false-negative smoke alert to notify the front desk of a handicap request.

So how do they know when it’s real?

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They don't.  Company policy dictates human response either way.  So if the clerk makes their way to the room and a handicapped customer needs help, they do.

For this hotel, fire response is not dispatched unless more than one detector goes off, or a firepull is used, so if the clerk finds no wheelchair but smoke, then they pull the alarm themselves as a first response.

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They don't. Company policy dictates human response either way.

Ok, I’m a little confused, this is the door outside the room, right?

IMHO, the doorbell is normally pressed by a visitor to the handicapped person, as a way to let them know that they are at the door (with lights/alarm in case they are visually or sonically impaired) and then the handicapped person presses a button inside to allow access to the visitor without them having to go open the door.

In that normal use case, hotel staff need not respond.

The five-second delay is a nuisance deterrent to juvenile pranking.

 

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Yes it is outside, the room, but it is also there if the handicap person needs help into the room to begin with, if no one is inside.

It functions as a doorbell, sure, but being this is a hospitality company, the fact the clerk checks either way is probably a good service.

The five second rule is there to make sure the audible linked detector inside has a strong positive signal to respond to.  A simple 'ding-dong' quick press isn't a long enough impulse to trigger a response.

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The five second rule is there to make sure the audible linked detector inside has a strong positive signal to respond to.

So your saying that this ‘false fire alarm’ system is not just some slammer setup for this one hotel, but rather a intentionally designed one for the handicapped?

Because the 5 second depress button is a stock item.

FWIW, I have heard many a doorbell that go on for several seconds (westminster abbey style), with one press.

 

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Hey, that's good work, you found the whole system.

The button is momentary, so there is no 'nuisance delay'.  You press, it rings.  You release, it stops.

The 'airgap' notification at the front desk via the 'false alarm' seems like it might be hokey ersatz-networked notification, but this particular hotel is a national chain, so I doubt it was the only example.

 

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Ok, I’ll concede the nuisance.

However, there are some issues that seem to stand in the way of this system functioning well enough to be worth it.

1. The room itself is equipped with an acoustic-linked indexed smoke detector.  Does this smoke detector make sound also when triggered? For how long?  Till it’s cleared at the front desk?  If not, what happens in a fire?  Wouldn’t that be unpleasant for the guest?

2. How sensitive are these acoustic detectors?  I would expect to trigger from at least one closed room to another. With various room layouts/construction, how would one insure that the doorbell (and possibly the smoke alarm itself) wouldn’t trigger other rooms acoustic detectors?  Are non-handicapped rooms smoke detectors acoustically disabled?

3. If two h/c doors happen to have visitors at the same time, that would trigger a fire dispatch?  That’s not really out of the realm of possibility is it?

 

 

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