No matter where you are, whether at school, the office, or even at home, safety should always be your number one priority if you are the owner.  Building Codes are there for a reason and having panic bars installed in your building can really save lives. Something so simple, you would have never thought it was so important! Let’s begin. 

Safety is why the importance of having a panic bar on exit doors cannot be over-stressed – in the worst possible scenario; they are a lifesaver. Panic bars are considered a massive asset in emergencies that require evacuation or the prevention of an intruder.

However, many people are still unfamiliar with panic bars, how they work, and their uses. Aside from the safety aspect, there are many other benefits of installing them in your institutional or commercial building.

What is the push bar on a door called?

Have you ever noticed a horizontal bar on a door that makes it easy to exit a door simple by pushing anywhere on the bar? That bar is called a push bar.

A push bar, also known as a crash bar or a panic bar, is a kind of mechanism fitted on doors and allows users to open the door by pushing the horizontal bar.  It has saved countless lives from its simple mechanics and most people don’t even know why it is so important.  But to understand that let’s dive into its history.

The Unknown Tragic History Of The Panic Bar

panic bar event

Before panic bars were invented there were barely any building safety codes, and that led to many people dying from a wide variety of preventable causes. 

The origin of this story started with the Victoria Hall disaster where 1,100 children were in a concert hall and were told that gifts were outside the concert hall.  In a panic, everyone rushed down the stairs to the exit doors.  Except the problem was that the doors opened inward and with hundreds of kids pushing to get out, it led to 183 kids being stomped, stampeded on, and crushed to death.

There were other disasters such as the Barnsley Public hall disaster and others where stampedes and inside fires killed hundreds of other people as well.  These deaths spurred the chain of events that led to the invention of the panic door and then finally being adopted internationally as a life saving device.  This is why exit doors always open outward and never inward. 

The primary purpose of a panic bar is to allow people to get out soon as you push the bar and provide an easy   way to open doors for people in a panic. It simplifies access to the room; by pressing anywhere on the push bar, the door will swing open.

How does a panic bar work?

You will find panic bars strategically placed on doors around hospitals, arenas, and all other buildings that experience large crowds.  

These devices have a spring-loaded metal bar installed horizontally on the inside of a door. Once the panic bar is activated or pushed, the door unlocks, allowing fast, easy access from inside as the door opens outwards and not inwards.

A panic bar has a locking mechanism and a lever. As you push the door, the lever lifts, causing the door to open freely as it is free from the latch mounted on the door frame. Typically, panic bars are installed only on exit doors to keep the people inside safe and an easy way to exit the room.

What is the primary purpose of a panic bar?

  The number one reason people install panic bars on exit doors is safety and allowing room occupants to exit the  room easily and quickly.

 Push bars are very advantageous when focusing on non-emergency situations and to quicken evacuation protocols. Because of the panic bars being installed on the inside of doors, the doors can stay locked outside while being easily unlocked from the inside.This device prevents intruders from gaining access to the locked area.

You can also fit panic bars with an alarm system that notifies supervisors about any unauthorized evacuations as well. 

Crash bars are highly effective, especially in emergencies where asking others to stay calm doesn’t seem to work. People under attack by dangerous people, sometimes will panic, so knowing that the crash bar is installed on the exit door can help these victims escape easily and quickly, gives people a great sense of security. 

Can you lock a panic bar?

The short answer is yes.  Press and hold the push bar in to unlock any exterior door. Then, insert the hex key into the hole found at the left (or right) of the bar. Turn it till you hear a click, and when you release the bar, it should stay pushed in. Put the hex key in the hole and twist it towards the other direction to lock the doors.

Panic bars use

Panic bars serve various purposes. Although an essential function is safety, panic bars also do the following:

  • When properly installed, panic bars can help you get a decreased insurance premium on the facility 
  • You can use panic bars for crowd control/easy exit after events or in the event of an emergency 
  • They are an affordable option for security
  • You can fit panic bars with an alarm system that notifies the police or other security agencies of any security breaches
  • Store owners can attach a panic bar to exit doors for ease of use as they are convenient and do not require any special maintenance like automatic doors.
  • Helps with opening a door when you have no free hands carrying goods, as you can push the bar with parts of your body.

Should panic bars be on doors

Although it is never fun to imagine an emergency, it is always necessary to prepare for one.  Not having a panic bar when it is needed can have disastrous consequences. 

You should install panic bars on the inside of your exit doors. They do so much for room occupants safety. You should also check with your local laws for building code safety to ensure you are compliant with the laws on panic doors.

Consult with a local locksmith when you are in need of panic bar installation services to ensure that it works properly.

Do I need to fix a broken panic bar?

If you have panic bars that don’t work then you could be in violation of safety building codes in your local city.  In most situations, your broken panic bars need to be fixed asap.  As you have learned in this article, they are critical in some situations.

Contact your local locksmith company to have them fixed as soon as possible to ensure proper operation.

Panic bars are an affordable option designed to ensure your safety and that of your customers, clients, students, and any other crowd using your facility. If you do not already have one installed, you should seriously consider having them in your building.

 

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