There are many exit devices required for offices, houses, commercial places and various types of structural buildings that have occupants. There are no shortcuts to getting your building up to code with proper exit devices and failure to conform to the statutory standards can lead to building closure or fines. Exit devices are only reasonable to install since the likelihood of fire outbreaks is something no one can predict. After the fateful 1904 Iroquois Theatre fire that led to the loss of 600 lives, the decision to review and design new locks that allowed safe exit in the event of emergency (like fire, bomb threats and building collapses) was made. This gave rise to different types of exit devices that are now required before a building is approved for use.
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Legally enforced exit devices
Getting your building up to code with proper exit devices should not be a daunting task since the requirements are quite basic and readily available. There are various strict standards and fire prevention codes that are enforced by the state to ensure homes, businesses and industries install suitable conforming exit devices that will protect employees, family and building occupants when an emergency occurs. The type of exit device to be installed in any given building will depend on a number of factors including number of occupants which has different rules for the type of doors, locks and exit devices. There are three main types of exit devices used in modern buildings. They include the following;
• Mortise lock – This mainly comprises of a mortise lock lacking the deadbolt and it is usually mounted on the pocket section of the door. When you press the push bar, the spindle (tail shaft) rotates and releases a latch bolt that then enables the door to open in a swing. Mortise locks have been around for quite some time and are one of the approved exit devices.
• Vertical rod – This is a fairly new introduction in the market and uses a bolt mechanism exit device. When the door is locked, the deadbolt latch extends to the strike, and reduces the distance between the bolt and the strike.
• Rim lock – Rim locks are definitely the most popular and vastly used exit devices in modern locksmith. The lock is named after its latching mechanism which is borrowed from the rim locks sold back in the early 20th century to the Midwest and East. The lock features a latch that extends on a surface mounted strike.
Locks are not the only exit devices required within the fire prevention safety codes. There are several other aspects of securing a building to make it safer during emergencies.
Panic and fire exit hardware
All doors must have a latching assembly that includes an activated door unlatching device during panic. When the device is pressed, the door should open on the engress direction. According to the code standard, the activating device should require a maximum force of 15 pounds to open the door in the engress direction. Any device that requires more force does not conform to the standards and the door should be opened by anybody trapped within the space. Fire doors should be able to self lock after every use and latch back to provide a smoke and fire barrier. As long as occupants are in the building, the fire doors can remain latched but never locked. Doors found in the stairwell should swing open and allow occupants to move into the corridor or another room. Like fire doors, they should latch but not lock or prevent occupants from coming down or going up.
Other safety codes
There should be fire exit doors that open in the engress direction without need for a key of specialist. Illuminated corridors, pathways and exit signs must also be installed to lead occupants to safe areas in case of fire or any emergency. Fire corridors and external exit doors are all part of the exit devices needed for every business, home and industry building. The scale and size of these devices all depend on the number of occupants housed within that building.
Getting your building up to code with proper exit devices is simply a necessity that can never be avoided or oversight. It does not only attract fines and possible building closure to neglect this requirement but also puts your building at risk endangering all occupants and limiting the possibility of salvaging and controlling fires among other emergencies. It is advisable to consult professional advice to find high quality devices and installation services.