Arm Your Fire Door with a Panic Bar

Panic Bar Door in Long Island

What Are Panic Bars?

Panic bars are a form of panic hardware, also called emergency egress hardware. Push bars use a bar that, when pushed, opens the lock and permits the door to be opened. Push bars are more popular because they can be opened by anyone, regardless of physical ability or disability. Panic bars can be active or passive. These bars release the door lock, and pushing on the panic door may trigger a sensor linked to the security system or emergency notification system.

Types of Panic Bars

The stereotypical panic bar is a push bar across a storefront door cleared labeled “fire exit – only open during an emergency”. Many exits have a small “paddle”, a smaller version of the panic bar. However, panic hardware can also take the form of a handle or a pair of handles.  Push bars are ADA compliant, and they will not impede a mother carrying children or someone guiding out the wounded. Delayed egress hardware is a combination panic bar, magnetic lock, sensor, alarm and timer. Delayed egress hardware is usually used on emergency exits, though the panic bar looks the same to anyone approaching the door.

Most panic style bars are mounted on hollow metal doors, because hollow metal doors have high fire ratings and are easy to open with automatic door operators. However, the bars can be installed on solid core doors. In this case, panic hardware is installed on the surface of the door or concealed in vertical rods. Electrified panic hardware like panic bars can be used with any type of lock, such as mortise locks or vertical rods.

The Mechanics of the Panic Bar

Panic style bars generally have a button under the panic bar to activate the alarm, if the panic bar switch does not go off. Some panic bar switches have sensors that react to contact with skin, so that a random bump with a dolly or gurney does not set it off. However, this sensor is not recommended for industrial buildings, since it will not work properly when used by someone wearing gloves. Mechanical panic style bars are simpler, and thus less prone to malfunction. In some systems, triggering of a fire alarm automatically activates all these bars, unlocking the doors so that people do not need to hold it down for several seconds to get out.

Delayed egress hardware allows anyone to push on the panic bar to exit. An individual may have to push down for several seconds against the panic door for it to open, so that the emergency alarms are not triggered by accidental contact. The magnetic lock is released, and an alarm is triggered. A countdown timer is activated, and it runs for ten to fifteen seconds. The alarm will ring continuously until the timer runs out. Any central security console connected to the exit door is activated to inform security that the door was opened. Some delayed egress systems will activate a warning message, informing everyone nearby that the fire door was opened or that there may be a fire.

Electrified panic bars will not stop working simply because the power went out. Many of them have backup power sources such as batteries. If the door is not powered, the magnetic locks should still release during an emergency; the only difference is that the computer in the center of the access control system may no longer be running and alerted of the opened door.

Why You Should Arm Your Fire Door with a Panic Bar

These bars can be integrated with access control systems. Pushing the panic bar on an emergency exit can trigger a request-to-exit sensor or alarm. This notifies security or the building administrator that someone has used the panic bar and in the process of leaving. You should arm your fire door with a panic bar so that everyone can get out and notify others of the need to evacuate by opening the fire door themselves. You will be able to control the magnetic locks on access doors automatically when delayed egress hardware is integrated with the access control system. Let the panic bar be your early warning system, saving time and lives in case of an emergency.A Professional Locksmith in Yonkers can give you more information about panic bars.

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