Exit Devices, also called 'Panic Bars' or 'Crash Bars' are required by safety codes the world over, and become integral parts of electronic access control systems.
However, they are often poorly understood, especially how they should be used in electronic access control systems.
Inside, we explain:
- Where Exit Devices Must Be Used Per Code
- What The Major Components Are
- Why Mullions Or Vertical Rods Are Needed
- Why Electronic Latch Retraction Is Useful For Access Control
- How Power Is Routed To Exit Devices
The application of exit devices is determined during building design by codes. Depending on occupancy classification, openings are required to meet specific criteria related to their opening during a 'panic' or emergency situation. Many code passages through IBC and NFPA relate to this subject, but the sections below provide the basic performance requirements of this hardware:
NFPA 101 : 184.108.40.206.9 - 220.127.116.11.11, 2015:
Latches or other fastening device on a door shall be provided with a releasing device having an obvious method of operation under all lighting conditions. The releasing mechanism (except existing installations) shall be located between 34" and 48" above the finished floor. Doors shall be openable with not more than 1 releasing operation:
- each leaf of a pair in a means of egress shall have its own releasing device, and each device has to operate independently (can not require 1 device to be released before the other), except
- no additional locking device (padlock, hasp, chain, deadbolt, etc.) shall be installed on a door which requires panic hardware
Exit devices are not specifically identified in codes as the only solution for these openings, however, the design of modern panic hardware typically represents the least expensive and most reliable products marketed to be code compliant.