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  • What is an Exit Device?

    exit device

    What is an exit device? An exit device often appears like a belt that goes across the door. Likely you’ve seen them and used them without knowing their name. They’re typically installed in busy areas or places to create an efficient exit in the case of an emergency. They can be found in hospitals, office buildings, academic settings and even the New York City subway. Exit devices are very common, but most people know very little about how important they are at serving for safe and practical purposes.



    The main purpose of an exit device is to provide a safe and efficient exit from a building. To do this, the user places their hand(s) on the push bar and by doing so releases the door from its locked position. Often times the exit device is connected to an alarm system. The alarm system is in place to save time alerting those in the vicinity that a dangerous or sometimes unlawful predicament is occurring. Most exit devices also are equipped with fire and smoke utilities. This allows them to release harmful fumes or increasing temperatures in some way according to their design.


    Common Places for Exit Doors

    • stairwell doors

    • cross corridor doors

    • exit and entry doors

    • exit only doors


    Exit Device Guidelines

    The exit device you install needs to meet ADA and ANSI 117.1 standards as well as fire and life safety codes, NFPA 8 and NFPA 101. As well as building codes IBC, BOCA and SBC. These codes protect you under law and ensure the functionality of your door in place. If you don’t have these codes, in the event of an emergency you’re looking down the barrel of a big lawsuit. (Remember doors must be clear of barriers at all times.)


    Is An Exit Door For You?

    Exit doors are used frequently in high occupancy places. In conditions that require an alarm for exit – like perimeters in buildings for example- where items can be looted, exit doors can be necessary. Lastly, and we can’t stress this enough, exit doors must uncomplicated exits. That is both in function and in placement.

    Exit Device Types

    • Crossbar exit devices

    • Paddle exit devices

    • Full-length touchpad type exit devices

    • Plumb flush panels

    • Partial length touch pad exit device

    • Electronic control exit device

    Aesthetics and Applications

    The look of a door isn’t going to be as important as its functionality. Especially since often times these doors are in places where they are seen infrequently. However, if they are in high-frequency places, there are many different door appearances to choose from. Be cautious that some of the before mentioned exit device types cost more than others. Like these three: flush panel, electronic control and touch pad device types. To install these doors, consult a professional. Other specs needed to conduct an installation are simple. This requires use of rim devices, surface vertical rods, latch points, possibly concealed vertical rods and mortise locks. But for non-professionals this can seem and be quite difficult. Especially if customization is involved.


    When trying to understand which exit device is best for you, review the following information and make a knowledgeable decision that suits both your particular building and your personnel’s safety. Good luck and have a wonderful day.



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