A panic bar is a device installed in doors which aids in unlocking the door in case of an emergency. It is also referred as crash bars, exit device, panic device or a push bar. This device consist a spring-loaded metal bar fixed to the inside of an outward-opening doors horizontally. The device has a lever that when it is under pressure the door unlatches allowing people to evacuate a building as fast as possible. Panic doors are part of safety regulations in any building in fact it is a legal requirement especially in buildings were there are many occupants.
We teamed with the push bar professionals over at arvadalocksmith.net to create this comprehensive article on panic bar devices.
There is some history behind the invention of panic bars. The Victoria hall disaster in Sunderland, England in the year 1883 where 180children lost their lives because the door could not open from the inside. This lead to the enforcement of minimum safety standards of a building by the British government. The requirement was that there must be a minimum number of doors opening outward and those could be easily opened from the inside, installed in all venues. It is sad that these requirement were not globally implement which lead to a tragedy in 1903, Iroquois theater fire in Chicago where many people lost their lives. This tragedy would have been prevented if only the iron gates would have opened from the inside.
Ever since, most countries have adopted building regulations that require a minimum number of emergence exists in any public building. This bars have been proven to save lives during building evacuations by preventing incidences of human stampedes. Panic bars fast-acting operation mechanism is efficient in allowing people to go through emergency exits without any speed reduction, this reduces the incidence of people suddenly clogging at the exits. The human traffic at the exits lead to stampedes because the people behind are not aware that the crowd in from have come across a door thus causing injuries. Panic bars are installed on doors required for emergence exists. This doors could be found in hazardous areas or where there are many occupants using that door.
Panic bars are safety measures in any building this is because they allow exits in case of an emergency regardless of the type of lock system. Some of these doors have an emergency alarm built in, in some the alarms sounds once the door is open when in other cases once the alarm sounds the door will open automatically. These are common in the fire doors. The best brands of panic bars should have the following features;
• OSHA requirements; the department Of Labor and Occupational-Safety and Healthy Administration requires a business premise to be equipped with emergency exits with panic-bars. All the panic doors must met all their requirements and most of all it should open from the inside with out the use of a key. Ensure that the hardware is accredited and certified by the American National Standards-Institute, this works as an insurance that the panic door have met all the requirements. Most certified companies are proud to let you know by displaying it in their packaging.
• Security system; it is good to know which security features come with the door. The doors security features should be ready to install and can work with which ever security system you have. Basically there are two types, where in one the alarm sound triggers the door to automatically open while in the other one the alarm sounds when the door is opened. It is advisable to choose one that works best for you and ask a professional to do the installation.
• The type of bars that is available; generally they are available in two styles, long bars or smaller lever-styled-handles. The handles are mostly used on the exterior but so far the bars are more popular. Make sure you get the correct measurements so as to know the size you want because panic bars come in different lengths and sizes.
• Ease of installation; can the door be self-installed or do you require a professional to do it? For those does that you do not want to connect to a security system you can install the bars yourself but if you want to tie the door with an alarm you will need a professional.
Lastly, all the doors should be clearly labeled as emergence exits to avoid false alarms.