Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure Tutorial

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 13, 2017

Few terms carry greater importance in access control than 'fail safe' and 'fail secure'.

Access control professionals must know how these concepts apply, and how to pick locks that are appropriate. Properly doing so determines whether door hardware risks harming people or assists their safety. Moreover, there is legal risk in failing to do so.

In this tutorial, we teach:

  • The difference between 'Fail Safe' and 'Fail Secure' locks
  • Why Free Egress Is So Important
  • Controlling Entry is the Goal
  • Mechanical Key Overrides Fail Secure
  • When To Use Fail Secure Hardware
  • Typical Access Control Locks for Fail Safe and Fail Secure
  • Proper application of maglocks and strikes for 'fail safe' and 'fail secure'

Finally, after reading, take our 5 question quiz.

Terms Defined

These terms have a specific meaning for door hardware. Whenever these functions are cited in specifications or code passages, they mean:

  • Fail Safe: When power is interrupted (fails), the electronic locking device is released (unlocked).
  • Fail Secure: When power is interrupted (fails), the electronic locking device is secured (locked).

These behaviors can impact hardware design and access control configuration, so noting the situations where each is used is very important.

*** ***** ***** ******* importance ** ****** ******* than '**** ****' *** 'fail ******'.

****** ******* ************* **** know *** ***** ******** apply, *** *** ** pick ***** **** *** appropriate. ******** ***** ** determines ******* **** ******** risks ******* ****** ** assists ***** ******. ********, there ** ***** **** in ******* ** ** so.

** **** ********, ** teach:

  • *** ********** ******* '**** Safe' *** '**** ******' locks
  • *** **** ****** ** So *********
  • *********** ***** ** *** Goal
  • ********** *** ********* **** Secure
  • **** ** *** **** Secure ********
  • ******* ****** ******* ***** for **** **** *** Fail ******
  • ****** *********** ** ******** and ******* *** '**** safe' *** '**** ******'

*******, ***** *******,**** *** * ******** quiz.

Terms *******

***** ***** **** * specific ******* *** **** hardware. ******** ***** ********* are ***** ** ************** or **** ********, **** mean:

  • **** ****: **** ***** is *********** (*****), *** electronic ******* ****** ** released (********).
  • **** ******: **** ***** is *********** (*****), *** electronic ******* ****** ** secured (******).

***** ********* *** ****** hardware ****** *** ****** control *************, ** ****** the ********** ***** **** is **** ** **** important.

[***************]

Free ****** ******

*** ************* ** ***** terms ******** ***** **** of *** **** **** apply. '**** ******' *** 'Fail ****' *********** ********* applies ** ***** ******* only, ******* ****** ****** in ************ ********* ******* ******* ** *** times. ** ** ********* situation, ******* ****** ****** egress (** ****) **** a ********.

******* ** ******** **** doors *** * ******** and ****** ********** *********, so * *********** ******** of ****-****** *********** ****** will *** ***** ***** to ********** *******. **** means **** **** ***** must ****** ** ******** with ********** ***** ** override *********** ***** (**: panic **** ** **** devices) *** ** *********** hardware ****** ** **** to '**** ****', ** cannot ** ****.

Controlling ***** ** *** *****

*******, '**** ****' **. 'fail ******' ** * vital ******* ** ******* entry***** ******** ****** ** emergency. **** ******** ** medical ********** ***** ** locked *** ** ** area ** ** ** not ******** ********** ** 'fail ****'. ** *** other ****, ********* ***** inadvertently **** * ********, exposing ********* ********* ***** of * ******** ** 'fail ******' ** *** properly ***********.

*** ******** ** ******** when ***** ***** ** a *** **** ** building ******, *** **** functions **** * *** role ** ****** ******** a *********** ********* ********.

Mechanical *** *********

***** '**** ******' ******** is ****, ************** ******* * ********** override. ** *** **** of *******, *** ******** lever **** ** **** device ******** **** ********, but ***** ***** ** electrified ******** *** ******* additional '********** *** ********' components.

*******, *** ********** ******** is **** * ****** of ******* ** **** access ********** *****. ** someone ***** ***** ***** a ***, ****** ** granted ******* *** '******' able ** *** *** entered. ********* ********* ******* ***********, ********** overrides ****** ** '**** forced' ****** ** ****** control ****, *** ****** system ********* ********** ******.

** * ******, *** of ********** ******** **** are ***** **** **** on ** ********* ***** with ********** *** ********** - ** ******, ***** operational ************ *** ***** too ******* *** **** endusers ** *****.

Designing ******* **** **** ********** *****

*** **** ********, *** default ******** ** ** 'fail ****', ****** ********* noted ** ****** *********, hardware ********* (*** ***** below), ** ***** *********** plans ** '**** ****** required'.

*** ***** ******** ** this *********** **** **** according ** *** ******, but ***** ******** ** 'fail ******' ***** ** limited, **** *** ****** always ****** *** ** a ********* ** ******* manner:

When ** *** **** ******

** ****** ********** ***********, fail ****** ** **** commonly **** **:

  • **** *****:***** ***** ******* ********** barriers ** *** ****** of ***** ****** * building ****, *** *** common ******** ** **** control ******, ***** * closed **** ** **** to **** *** * portion ** ** ******** structure. ** ****, ** remains ********** ********* *** a **** **** ** remain ****** ** * fire, *** '**** ******' hardware ** ***** ********* to ****** * ******** lock ** ****** ********.
  • ********* *****: *** ** *** most ******** *** *********** pieces ** **** ******** stairwell *****, *** ******* or *** **** *** allowed ** ** ****** from *** ******* (*****) during ** *********. *** net ****** ** ** many **** ********* ** widespread ********* *** ********** understanding ***** ****. ** is **** ** ********* the *********** ** *** approving **** **** ******** work ** ***** ****** problems **** *********** ***** doors.

**** ****** ***********, **** jails, *******, ****** ***** care **********, ** ******* homes *** *** **** Secure ****** ***********, *** are ********* ******* ********* and ***** ******* ** safe ********* ****** *** often ********.

Typical ****** ******* ***** *** **** **** *** **** ******

********: ** ******,*************** *********** ** *******, so **** ***** ** removed **** '**** ****' by *******. *** **** in ***** ** ***** a ********* ** *** fire-alarm ******, ** **** if *** **** **** is *********, *** ******** drop ***** ** *** same ****. **** *** cause ****** **** ******** security, ** *********** ******** ***** *** unlocked *** **** ** be ******** **** *** outside, ** ********** ***** are ** ********* ******* in **** ** ***** doors.

********* ****** ***** ** maglocks ** *** ****** adopted *** **** ********. When ****** ***** ** used **** ********, ** must ****** **** *** concurrent ******** ** *** AHJ *** ***** ** installed ** ***** ***** during ** ********* *****. See ***:*** ** *** ******** With ******* ***** *********** *** **********.

*******: ***** ******* *** commonly ********** *** ****** 'fail ****' ** '**** secure' ******** ** ******** by ***** ******. ************ *** ***** ******** Strike***** ****** *** ***** operation, *** ***** **** 'keeper' ******** ** ******* are ****** ** *********, changing *** ******* ******** of *** ******** *** cause *** ****** ** be ***** ** **** of *****, ** ********** moveable.

***** *** ************* ** either ******** ** ********* a ****** ****** ******* in *** ******, ******* are ***** *** ******* devices ** ******* '**** secure' *************. ***** *** mechanical ******** ** *** door ******* ******* ********** egress, ******* *** ****** additions ** *** ********** opening ** ******* **** feature.

***** ********: ***** *** * number ** ***** '**** secure' ******** ******* *********, including ********** *********, ****** locks, *** *********** *****. However, *** ******** *** use ** **** ******** may *** ****** **** codes ******** ** ********* egress *****, *** *** not ******** **** ** fail ****** *************.

****

*******, ***** *******,**** *** * ******** quiz.

[****: **** ***** *** originally ******* ** **** but ************* ******* ** 2017.]

Comments (20)

*** **** ********, *** default ******** ** ** 'fail ****'.

**** **** **** **** those ******** *** ** breached ** *** ******** element ** *** ***** can ** *********** ***********?

*** ***********, ** ***** that ********** ***** *** still * *** **** of ******** ********.

** * **** ** only ******* ** * maglock, ***** **** ***** be * ******** *****, but **** **** ***** have ********* ***** **********.

**** *** *** ********* require ********* ****** ** the ********** **** ** a ********, ********** ** whether */* ** ** use?

****, **** ***** ******* it. **** ** ***** devices ******** ******** ****.

* ***** ** ************ this *****, *** ** mechanical ***** ** ** exit **** *** **** a **** **** ***** mechanically ******* *** **** bar (*** ** *** mill **** ****)? * assume **** ************ ******* these **** ** ********** against *** **** ****** codes

** ** **** **** with * *******, *** pushbar ***** ***** *** circuit *** *** ******* would ***********? *** ***** you *** * ******* to * **** **** already *** * ********** lock ********* ** *** pushbar - **** ****** monitoring ** ***** *******?

* ***** ** ************ this *****, *** ** mechanical ***** ** ** exit **** *** **** a **** **** ***** mechanically ******* *** **** bar (*** ** *** mill **** ****)? * assume **** ************ ******* these **** ** ********** against *** **** ****** codes.

'************ ******' ** *** mutually ********* ** '**** compliant'. ** **** ***** than ********** ** **** by ***, *****, ******, or **** ***. ***** 'free ******' **** ********* means *** ****** *** to **** ******* (****** if ********) *** **** the ****. **** ** why**** ********** ** *********.

** ** **** **** with * *******, *** pushbar ***** ***** *** circuit *** *** ******* would ***********?

***, *** **** *********** is ****** ****** ******* ******** **** **** these.

*** ***** *** *** a ******* ** * door **** ******* *** a ********** **** ********* to *** ******* - door ****** ********** ** other *******?

***** *** * ****** of ********* **** ****** into **** *********. ***** is ** *********** ******* ********- **** *** *** otherwise - *** ** an ******** ******, ************ retracting ******** ***/*****, ** some ***** *********** ***** cannot ** *********, * maglock ***** ** *** best ******.

******** **** ** ** easier ******* ** *******, and **** ** ***** some ** *** **** comes ****. **** **** a '************' **********.

** **** *****, *** exit ****** *** ** 'dogged ****' (****** ****) during **** *****, ** a ******* ** **** a **** ***** ** a ****** ** *********** locking, *** ********* *** mechanically ******** ***** ****** the *****.

*** ***** ** ******* has **** * ****** of ****** ******* *** AHJ *** ***** **********. They ****** *** *** installations ** ******** ******* years ***, *** ** an ************ ***** *** Fire ***** *** *** interface **** *** ******* and **** ****'* "**** safe" **** *** **** Alarm *** *********. ************, they ******'* *** ******* a **** **** *** magnetically ******. *** ***** fire ******* **** '** more ********' *** **** one *** *****.

**** ***** ********** ***** their **** ** *** law *** ***** ******* maglocks, ****** **** ***'* get ******. ** *** these ***** **** **** the **** ** ** by *** ********** *** system ********* ** ***** with.

************, **** ******'* *** through * **** **** was ************ ******.

******** *** ***** ** the ******** ****'* ****?

**** ******* ******* ******** strikes ** **** ** fire *****? *** **** there **** ** ** more ********* **** ** mag-locks **** ******* ** regards ** ****/******, ********** those ******** ********* ******* backup *****?

** ** ******* **** don't **** ********** ******** keys, ** ******* *** entrance *** ** ****** to **** *******, **?

********* *** ******* ** disclose * ******** ******!

*** ********* *** ****** batteries ** *** ***** supply, ******** **** **** doing *** ***** *****...

******* ** *** - and *** *** ******** to - **** ** fire ***** - ** long ** *** *** in *** **** *** allows ********. ** *** switch *********** *** *******. Maybe ** *** ************* had ******** * **** / *** ** *** Knox ***, ** *** not ** ******* ***** this ***...

*****, ** *** ******* of **** *******, *** state **** ********* ***** would ** * ***** to *** **** ******, but ** *** ****-**** buildings ** *******, **** use **** **** *** the ***** ****** ** required ** ********* **** the **** ***** ****** so **** ***** ** interrupted ** **** ** is *********. ** **** point, *** ***** *** in ******* ****. **** don't **** ****** ******* in *** ********* ** case ** * ****. They **** **** *** guys ** ******* **** to ** **** ** check *** ****** ********* while **** *** *************.

*** '**** ******' *********** is ******* **** *** codes ************ *** ********** to ******* **-***** **** other ******.

**** *** ********* ** 'egressed **' (********* *** the ****-** ****?), *** only **** ** ******** escape ** ****** *** ground ***** *** *******.

** ************* ***** ******** ********* ********* * *** **** in *** **** ** applied. ** **** ****, either *** ********* **** may ***** *** **** Safe, ** *** **** may ********* *** ***** codes *** ******* **!

**** ****: **** ***** is *********** (*****), *** electronic ******* ****** ** released (********).
**** ******: **** ***** is *********** (*****), *** electronic ******* ****** ** secured (******).

** ***** ** **** for * ***** ****?

**** ****: **** ***** is *********** (*****), *** electronic ******* ****** ** stays ******* ** ******* secured, ********* ** ******* unsecured.

******* *** **ï***é :)

'**** ****' ** *** absolute ******. ** ****** needs ** *** *** way ** *** ***** when ***** ***** ** order ** ** ********* for ** ******.

'**** ****' ** *** absolute ******.

* ****** *** **** 'Fail ****'.

*** ********** ***** '**** Same' **** *** ***** drops, ********* ***** ******* they *** *** *******. Still **** ********* **** there ** ** ****** correlation ******* ***** **** and *** ******/******** ***** of * ****.

** ***'* ******* ** electrified, ********** ******* **** mechanical ******** *** **** free ******, ***** ** powered **** ** ******** battery ************ ******* **** the *****.

**** ******* ** ******* would '**** ****'. * see ** ********** ************ in ********** *** *** behavior ** **** ******* compared ** * ****** mechanical ***.

******, *****.

**** ******** ***** *** default ******** ** ***-******* mechanical *****, ***** ** a *** *** ** criteria **** ** ******** it:************* *** **+ **** Functions. (**** ****** ** in *** ***** ** be ******* *** ****** formatting *** ******.)

**** *********, **** ******, stay ****** ****** * key ** ****. (*** generally '**** ******' *********). Other ********* *** ****** on *** *******, *** always *** ******** ******** a ***** ******/****/****** ** the ****** ** ******* it.

*** * **** ****** but *** ***** ***** for *** ***** ** detail *** **************, *** need ** **** ** order ** ** * proper ****** *** ********** enforce ***** *****..

*- **** ***** ** you **** ** **** determine *** **** *** level ** ************** ** the ***.

* - **** *** Residential ******** ** **** end ********** ********, *** a *** ******** ..

* - *** **** need ** ******* ** better ****** **** **** FIRE ****** **** **** ALL ** ****!!

* - ******** ******* in **** ****** *** completely *********. !! *****'* no ******* ** **** in **** ******* !!!!

""*** **** *** **** allow ******* **
*************** ***** **** ****** and ****** ******** ** panic *** **** **** hardware ** **** ** the *** ** *** bar ********
********** ***** ********* *** electromagnetic ****. ***** **** be ** *********** *** fire ****** **********, *** no
***** ********* ******* *** required. ******* ** *** door ** ******** ** the **** *** ****** and ******** *** ******** using
*************** *****""

**** ** ***** ********* and *****'* *** *** single ******* ** **** Article. !!! * ********** this ** ***** * Big ***** *** **** you *** ******* **** links ** ********* ** make ** **** ********, this ******* ***** ****** or *** ******** ....

***** ****:

****** *** *** *******. I **** **** *********/******** for ***:

#* & #* *** covered ** ****** ****:******** ********* ***** *** Access ******* ********

#*: ******** ***** **** alarms *** *********. **** role ** **** **** in **** ********? '**** safe' ***** **** ***** is *******, ********** ** the ****** **** (**: Fire ***** *****) ** needed, ** **** ******* state **** ** ****.

#*: ***** ****** ****** electric *******? ****, **** is ******* **** ******* are *********?

******!

*** ***** ******* **** be *********? **** ******** strikes, *****'* ****** * mechanical ******** - **** both ******** *** ******.

** *******, *** *** Code *********** (*/*/* ***** Fire *******) *** ****** new ************* ** ******** because ** **** ** life *** ** *** system *** ******** ********** with ****. ***** ******** have ********* *********, *** they *****'* ****. **** will ***** * ****** in ******* *************. * know *********** ***** ******* them, **** *** *********** later ** **** *** caught.

**** *********** ********* ******, should * ** ** concerned ***** ******* ******* in, ** * ** people ***** **** ** exit ******?

******** * ******* **** you ***** ****. ** general, '**** ******' **** not ********** '**** *******' beyond **** *** ****** allows, **** **********.

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