Exit Devices – Code Alert

There are some important code requirements for exit devices – also referred to as panic bars, panic exit devices, and fire exit devices – as they pertain to door maintenance.  Architects or code officials determine where to use exit devices during the design and planning of a building.  However, fire officials or other AHJs (Authority Having Jurisdiction) may also require that an exit device be installed on an opening.  Exit devices are typically used on doors in the path of means of egress.  These egress doors usually have a high volume of people to pass through an opening in a short period of time.

Just as with any other pieces of hardware, the functionality of exit devices and fire exit devices depends on the maintenance of the device. If the devices are not periodically adjusted, the doors will not provide security from unauthorized entry or keep a fire door closed in the event of a fire. Contact us to learn how to adjust and maintain your exit devices.

Here are a few exit device codes you should be aware of…

  •  NFPA101, Chapter 3, section 3.3.115 Hardware defines panic hardware as: a door-latching assembly incorporating an actuating member or bar that releases the latch bolt upon application of a force in the direction of egress travel. The definition for fire exit hardware also includes: and that additionally provides fire protection where used as part of a fire door assembly.
  •  Two defining components of exit devices are the size and activation of the device. The size requirements are found in NFPA 101, Chapter 7: panic devices or fire exit hardware must consist of a cross bar or push pad, the actuating portion of which extends across not less than one-half of the width of the door leaf.
  •  The force to open doors with exit devices is also found in NFPA101, chapter 7: the forces required to fully open any door manually in a means of egress shall not exceed 15lbf to release the door, 30lbf to set the door in motion, and 15lbf to open the door to the minimum required width, unless other wise specified in 7.2.1.4.5.2 through 7.2.1.4.5.5.

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