Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure Tutorial

Author: 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.

*** ***** ***** ******* ********** ** ****** ******* **** '**** safe' *** '**** ******'.

****** ******* ************* **** **** *** ***** ******** *****, *** how ** **** ***** **** *** ***********. ******** ***** ** determines ******* **** ******** ***** ******* ****** ** ******* ***** safety. ********, ***** ** ***** **** ** ******* ** ** so.

** **** ********, ** *****:

  • *** ********** ******* '**** ****' *** '**** ******' *****
  • *** **** ****** ** ** *********
  • *********** ***** ** *** ****
  • ********** *** ********* **** ******
  • **** ** *** **** ****** ********
  • ******* ****** ******* ***** *** **** **** *** **** ******
  • ****** *********** ** ******** *** ******* *** '**** ****' *** 'fail ******'

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

Terms *******

***** ***** **** * ******** ******* *** **** ********. ******** these ********* *** ***** ** ************** ** **** ********, **** mean:

  • **** ****: **** ***** ** *********** (*****), *** ********** ******* device ** ******** (********).
  • **** ******: **** ***** ** *********** (*****), *** ********** ******* device ** ******* (******).

***** ********* *** ****** ******** ****** *** ****** ******* *************, so ****** *** ********** ***** **** ** **** ** **** important.

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

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

*** ************* ** ***** ***** ******** ***** **** ** *** door **** *****. '**** ******' *** '**** ****' *********** ********* applies ** ***** ******* ****, ******* ****** ****** ** ************ ********* ******* ******* ** *** *****. ** ** ********* *********, ******* should ****** ****** (** ****) **** * ********.

******* ** ******** **** ***** *** * ******** *** ****** historical *********, ** * *********** ******** ** ****-****** *********** ****** will *** ***** ***** ** ********** *******. **** ***** **** exit ***** **** ****** ** ******** **** ********** ***** ** override *********** ***** (**: ***** **** ** **** *******) *** if *********** ******** ****** ** **** ** '**** ****', ** cannot ** ****.

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

*******, '**** ****' **. '**** ******' ** * ***** ******* to ******* ********** ******** ****** ** *********. **** ******** ** ******* ********** could ** ****** *** ** ** **** ** ** ** not ******** ********** ** '**** ****'. ** *** ***** ****, occupants ***** ************* **** * ********, ******** ********* ********* ***** of * ******** ** '**** ******' ** *** ******** ***********.

*** ******** ** ******** **** ***** ***** ** * *** part ** ******** ******, *** **** ********* **** * *** role ** ****** ******** * *********** ********* ********.

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

***** '**** ******' ******** ** ****, ************** ******* * ********** ********. ** *** **** ** *******, the ******** ***** **** ** **** ****** ******** **** ********, but ***** ***** ** *********** ******** *** ******* ********** '********** key ********' **********.

*******, *** ********** ******** ** **** * ****** ** ******* in **** ****** ********** *****. ** ******* ***** ***** ***** a ***, ****** ** ******* ******* *** '******' **** ** log *** *******. ********* ********* ******* ***********, ********** ********* ****** ** '**** ******' ****** in ****** ******* ****, *** ****** ****** ********* ********** ******.

** * ******, *** ** ********** ******** **** *** ***** used **** ** ** ********* ***** **** ********** *** ********** - ** ******, ***** *********** ************ *** ***** *** ******* for **** ******** ** *****.

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

*** **** ********, *** ******* ******** ** ** '**** ****', unless ********* ***** ** ****** *********, ******** ********* (*** ***** below), ** ***** *********** ***** ** '**** ****** ********'.

*** ***** ******** ** **** *********** **** **** ********* ** the ******, *** ***** ******** ** '**** ******' ***** ** limited, **** *** ****** ****** ****** *** ** * ********* or ******* ******:

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

** ****** ********** ***********, **** ****** ** **** ******** **** in:

  • **** *****:***** ***** ******* ********** ******** ** *** ****** ** ***** during * ******** ****, *** *** ****** ******** ** **** control ******, ***** * ****** **** ** **** ** **** off * ******* ** ** ******** *********. ** ****, ** remains ********** ********* *** * **** **** ** ****** ****** in * ****, *** '**** ******' ******** ** ***** ********* to ****** * ******** **** ** ****** ********.
  • ********* *****: *** ** *** **** ******** *** *********** ****** ** code ******** ********* *****, *** ******* ** *** **** *** allowed ** ** ****** **** *** ******* (*****) ****** ** emergency. *** *** ****** ** ** **** **** ********* ** widespread ********* *** ********** ************* ***** ****. ** ** **** to ********* *** *********** ** *** ********* **** **** ******** work ** ***** ****** ******** **** *********** ***** *****.

**** ****** ***********, **** *****, *******, ****** ***** **** **********, or ******* ***** *** *** **** ****** ****** ***********, *** are ********* ******* ********* *** ***** ******* ** **** ********* egress *** ***** ********.

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

********: ** ******,*************** *********** ** *******, ** **** ***** ** ******* **** 'fail ****' ** *******. *** **** ** ***** ** ***** a ********* ** *** ****-***** ******, ** **** ** *** fire **** ** *********, *** ******** **** ***** ** *** same ****. **** *** ***** ****** **** ******** ********, ** then******* ******** ***** *** ******** *** **** ** ** ******** from *** *******, ** ********** ***** *** ** ********* ******* in **** ** ***** *****.

********* ****** ***** ** ******** ** *** ****** ******* *** most ********. **** ****** ***** ** **** **** ********, ** must ****** **** *** ********** ******** ** *** *** *** still ** ********* ** ***** ***** ****** ** ********* *****. See ***:*** ** *** ******** **** ******* ***** *********** *** **********.

*******: ***** ******* *** ******** ********** *** ****** '**** ****' or '**** ******' ******** ** ******** ** ***** ******. ************ *** ***** ******** *********** ****** *** ***** *********, *** ***** **** '******' ******** of ******* *** ****** ** *********, ******** *** ******* ******** of *** ******** *** ***** *** ****** ** ** ***** on **** ** *****, ** ********** ********.

***** *** ************* ** ****** ******** ** ********* * ****** switch ******* ** *** ******, ******* *** ***** *** ******* devices ** ******* '**** ******' *************. ***** *** ********** ******** on *** **** ******* ******* ********** ******, ******* *** ****** additions ** *** ********** ******* ** ******* **** *******.

***** ********: ***** *** * ****** ** ***** '**** ******' ******** devices *********, ********* ********** *********, ****** *****, *** *********** *****. However, *** ******** *** *** ** **** ******** *** *** comply **** ***** ******** ** ********* ****** *****, *** *** not ******** **** ** **** ****** *************.

****

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

[****: **** ***** *** ********** ******* ** **** *** ************* updated ** ****.]

Comments (18)

*** **** ********, *** ******* ******** ** ** '**** ****'.

**** **** **** **** ***** ******** *** ** ******** ** the ******** ******* ** *** ***** *** ** *********** ***********?

*** ***********, ** ***** **** ********** ***** *** ***** * big **** ** ******** ********.

** * **** ** **** ******* ** * *******, ***** loss ***** ** * ******** *****, *** **** **** ***** have ********* ***** **********.

**** *** *** ********* ******* ********* ****** ** *** ********** keys ** * ********, ********** ** ******* */* ** ** use?

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

* ***** ** ************ **** *****, *** ** ********** ***** on ** **** **** *** **** * **** **** ***** mechanically ******* *** **** *** (*** ** *** **** **** door)? * ****** **** ************ ******* ***** **** ** ********** against *** **** ****** *****

** ** **** **** **** * *******, *** ******* ***** break *** ******* *** *** ******* ***** ***********? *** ***** you *** * ******* ** * **** **** ******* *** a ********** **** ********* ** *** ******* - **** ****** monitoring ** ***** *******?

* ***** ** ************ **** *****, *** ** ********** ***** on ** **** **** *** **** * **** **** ***** mechanically ******* *** **** *** (*** ** *** **** **** door)? * ****** **** ************ ******* ***** **** ** ********** against *** **** ****** *****.

'************ ******' ** *** ******** ********* ** '**** *********'. ** just ***** **** ********** ** **** ** ***, *****, ******, or **** ***. ***** '**** ******' **** ********* ***** *** motion *** ** **** ******* (****** ** ********) *** **** the ****. **** ** ******* ********** ** *********.

** ** **** **** **** * *******, *** ******* ***** break *** ******* *** *** ******* ***** ***********?

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

*** ***** *** *** * ******* ** * **** **** already *** * ********** **** ********* ** *** ******* - door ****** ********** ** ***** *******?

***** *** * ****** ** ********* **** ****** **** **** selection. ***** ** ** *********** ******* ********- **** *** *** ********* - *** ** ** ******** strike, ************ ********** ******** ***/*****, ** **** ***** *********** ***** cannot ** *********, * ******* ***** ** *** **** ******.

******** **** ** ** ****** ******* ** *******, *** **** is ***** **** ** *** **** ***** ****. **** **** a '************' **********.

** **** *****, *** **** ****** *** ** '****** ****' (locked ****) ****** **** *****, ** * ******* ** **** a **** ***** ** * ****** ** *********** *******, *** maglocked *** ************ ******** ***** ****** *** *****.

*** ***** ** ******* *** **** * ****** ** ****** between *** *** *** ***** **********. **** ****** *** *** installations ** ******** ******* ***** ***, *** ** ** ************ where *** **** ***** *** *** ********* **** *** ******* and **** ****'* "**** ****" **** *** **** ***** *** triggered. ************, **** ******'* *** ******* * **** **** *** magnetically ******. *** ***** **** ******* **** '** **** ********' for **** *** *** *****.

**** ***** ********** ***** ***** **** ** *** *** *** still ******* ********, ****** **** ***'* *** ******. ** *** these ***** **** **** *** **** ** ** ** *** installing *** ****** ********* ** ***** ****.

************, **** ******'* *** ******* * **** **** *** ************ locked.

******** *** ***** ** *** ******** ****'* ****?

**** ******* ******* ******** ******* ** **** ** **** *****? Why **** ***** **** ** ** **** ********* **** ** mag-locks **** ******* ** ******* ** ****/******, ********** ***** ******** operating ******* ****** *****?

** ** ******* **** ***'* **** ********** ******** ****, ** because *** ******** *** ** ****** ** **** *******, **?

********* *** ******* ** ******** * ******** ******!

*** ********* *** ****** ********* ** *** ***** ******, ******** they **** ***** *** ***** *****...

******* ** *** - *** *** *** ******** ** - drop ** **** ***** - ** **** ** *** *** in *** **** *** ****** ********. ** *** ****** *********** the *******. ***** ** *** ************* *** ******** * **** / *** ** *** **** ***, ** *** *** ** talking ***** **** ***...

*****, ** *** ******* ** **** *******, *** ***** **** Stairwell ***** ***** ** * ***** ** *** **** ******, but ** *** ****-**** ********* ** *******, **** *** **** SAFE *** *** ***** ****** ** ******** ** ********* **** the **** ***** ****** ** **** ***** ** *********** ** case ** ** *********. ** **** *****, *** ***** *** in ******* ****. **** ***'* **** ****** ******* ** *** stairwell ** **** ** * ****. **** **** **** *** guys ** ******* **** ** ** **** ** ***** *** floors ********* ***** **** *** *************.

*** '**** ******' *********** ** ******* **** *** ***** ************ for ********** ** ******* **-***** **** ***** ******.

**** *** ********* ** '******** **' (********* *** *** ****-** term?), *** **** **** ** ******** ****** ** ****** *** ground ***** *** *******.

** ************* ***** ******** ********* ********* * *** **** ** *** **** ** *******. ** your ****, ****** *** ********* **** *** ***** *** **** Safe, ** *** **** *** ********* *** ***** ***** *** require **!

**** ****: **** ***** ** *********** (*****), *** ********** ******* device ** ******** (********).
**** ******: **** ***** ** *********** (*****), *** ********** ******* device ** ******* (******).

** ***** ** **** *** * ***** ****?

**** ****: **** ***** ** *********** (*****), *** ********** ******* device ** ***** ******* ** ******* *******, ********* ** ******* unsecured.

******* *** **ï***é :)

'**** ****' ** *** ******** ******. ** ****** ***** ** act *** *** ** *** ***** **** ***** ***** ** order ** ** ********* *** ** ******.

'**** ****' ** *** ******** ******.

* ****** *** **** '**** ****'.

*** ********** ***** '**** ****' **** *** ***** *****, ********* thats ******* **** *** *** *******. ***** **** ********* **** there ** ** ****** *********** ******* ***** **** *** *** locked/unlocked ***** ** * ****.

** ***'* ******* ** ***********, ********** ******* **** ********** ******** key **** **** ******, ***** ** ******* **** ** ******** battery ************ ******* **** *** *****.

**** ******* ** ******* ***** '**** ****'. * *** ** additional ************ ** ********** *** *** ******** ** **** ******* compared ** * ****** ********** ***.

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

**** ******** ***** *** ******* ******** ** ***-******* ********** *****, there ** * *** *** ** ******** **** ** ******** it:************* *** **+ **** *********. (**** ****** ** ** *** ***** ** ** ******* for ****** ********** *** ******.)

**** *********, **** ******, **** ****** ****** * *** ** used. (*** ********* '**** ******' *********). ***** ********* *** ****** on *** *******, *** ****** *** ******** ******** * ***** handle/knob/paddle ** *** ****** ** ******* **.

*** * **** ****** *** *** ***** ***** *** *** level ** ****** *** **************, *** **** ** **** ** order ** ** * ****** ****** *** ********** ******* ***** rules..

*- **** ***** ** *** **** ** **** ********* *** type *** ***** ** ************** ** *** ***.

* - **** *** *********** ******** ** **** *** ********** Building, *** * *** ******** ..

* - *** **** **** ** ******* ** ****** ****** what **** **** ****** **** **** *** ** ****!!

* - ******** ******* ** **** ****** *** ********** *********. !! *****'* ** ******* ** **** ** **** ******* !!!!

""*** **** *** **** ***** ******* **
*************** ***** **** ****** *** ****** ******** ** ***** *** fire **** ******** ** **** ** *** *** ** *** bar ********
********** ***** ********* *** *************** ****. ***** **** ** ** requirement *** **** ****** **********, *** **
***** ********* ******* *** ********. ******* ** *** **** ** returned ** *** **** *** ****** *** ******** *** ******** using
*************** *****""

**** ** ***** ********* *** *****'* *** *** ****** ******* in **** *******. !!! * ********** **** ** ***** * Big ***** *** **** *** *** ******* **** ***** ** something ** **** ** **** ********, **** ******* ***** ****** or *** ******** ....

***** ****:

****** *** *** *******. * **** **** *********/******** *** ***:

#* & #* *** ******* ** ****** ****:******** ********* ***** *** ****** ******* ********

#*: ******** ***** **** ****** *** *********. **** **** ** they **** ** **** ********? '**** ****' ***** **** ***** is *******, ********** ** *** ****** **** (**: **** ***** loops) ** ******, ** **** ******* ***** **** ** ****.

#*: ***** ****** ****** ******** *******? ****, **** ** ******* when ******* *** *********?

******!

*** ***** ******* **** ** *********? **** ******** *******, *****'* always * ********** ******** - **** **** ******** *** ******.

** *******, *** *** **** *********** (*/*/* ***** **** *******) has ****** *** ************* ** ******** ******* ** **** ** life *** ** *** ****** *** ******** ********** **** ****. Power ******** **** ********* *********, *** **** *****'* ****. **** will ***** * ****** ** ******* *************. * **** *********** still ******* ****, **** *** *********** ***** ** **** *** caught.

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