October 14

What Are Exit Devices?


exit device

Why do you need exit devices? An exit device (also referred to as a panic device, panic hardware, panic bolt and crash bar) is hardware that is installed on a door that keeps it locked from the outside, while allowing people on the inside to exit without unlocking it. In other words, it restricts entry, but allows exits in the event of an emergency.

Exit devices may be required to meet code restrictions for a building, depending on its purpose. However, many commercial property owners often have them installed for security and safety purposes even if they’re not legally required.

Advantages of Exit Devices

Exit devices are important features for commercial buildings. They provide two distinct advantages:

  1. Security. An exit device can be installed on certain entry doors to restrict entry to the building by the public or any unauthorized individual. Only those individuals deemed authorized to unlock these doors from the outside may do so. With security concerns on the rise, keeping your assets, employees and customers safe from intruders is paramount.
  2. Safety. In the event of an emergency, like a fire or other event that requires immediate evacuation of the building, individuals can activate the crash bar on the inside of the door. Hence, the term “panic bar”. They are easy to activate so that even individuals with limited mobility or small children can activate them.

Types of Exit Devices

There are three basic types of exit devices, as explained here:

  1. Rim Style Exit Device

    This is the most common exit device used. It has a latch or bolt that is mounted on the inside of the door’s surface. The latch protrudes from the device rather than the edge of the door. These are usually used on single doors but can be applied to double doors as well.
  2. Mortise Style Exit Device

    Mortise devices have a mortise lock body that sits inside a pocket prepped in the side of the door. These are heavy duty devices and usually used where they will get a lot of use or where high security is needed.
  3. Vertical Rod Exit Device

    The vertical rod devices are commonly used on double doors but may be used on single doors when extra security is desired. Top and bottom rods extend from the device to the top and bottom of the door frame. When the panic bar on the interior side of the door is pushed, the rods retract and release the lock to open the door.

    These devices are available in both Surface Vertical Rod (SVR) and Concealed Vertical Rod (CVR). The main difference between the two is that the CVR rods are concealed inside the door, making them more aesthetically appealing.

Exit Device Designs

There are 3 types of exit devices which can be visually distinguished from one another.

Touch Bar Device

This is the most common design for exit devices. Anyone wanting to activate the exit door just pushes the pad into the body A touch bar

touch bar device
cross bar device

Cross Bar Device

A cross bar is a handle that extends the width of the door and activates by someone pushing down on it.

Integral Device

The integral device is more recessed into the face of the door. It is more flush to the door than the other devices.

integral device

What Type of Exit Device Is Right for Your Business?

There are several considerations to weigh when deciding which type of exit device is right for your business. You may need more than one type, depending on the purpose of the exit. Here are some factors:

  • Type of door. Is it a single- or double-door exit? The exit device can be fitted to both, but you need to decide if you want a mullion (vertical bar) separating each, which will cut the opening in half or not. What is the door made of? If it’s wood, hollow metal or aluminum, all types of exit devices can be installed. Glass doors may need special locks.
  • Fire rating. If you need added protection in the event of an emergency, you may want a fire rated exit device. Keep in mind, however, that the door must be fire-rated as well. If you don’t need this extra level of safety, or if your doors are not fire rated, a non-fire rated device is less costly and works effectively.
  • Noise. The noise level can be a factor in your choice. If your building requires noise control, you wouldn’t want to install a motor operated exit device.
  • Location. Exit doors that exit to the outdoors must be weather-proof so that they don’t malfunction in extreme weather.

Trust the Professionals

If you’re a business owner or building manager, you likely want to control access to your premises to only those authorized. The choices you have may be overwhelming, so let a professional handle it!

Gateway Lock and Security knows security systems and locking mechanisms. We can present you with your options and assist you in getting the right exit devices for your business. We’ve been in business since 1960, servicing thousands of satisfied customers. Contact us today to get a free consultation.


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