You may not have considered this major challenge when creating security: how do you protect the structure while also protecting the contents? What would you do if there was a fire? Where would you and the others be able to go? Is it possible you would have to flee a building straight away if there was a powerful earthquake? What would you do if you found out your workplace was a death trap? Basically, you need to be able to exit but not enter freely. This is the delicate balance that all structures must achieve: safety and security. When do you put your attention on one and when do you put your attention on the other? Which is more significant? What role does exit accessibility play in this? There are a number of different types of locks and security codes available to resolve this problem. There are also guidelines for the types of locks that should be used on emergency exit doors. In an article provided by Commercial Locksmith Toronto, they discussed the question, “What kind of locks should be used on emergency exit doors?”
Keep the following in mind while choosing emergency exit doors:
Safety of Emergency Exit Doors
So, how can you ensure the individuals within the building’s safety?
The most obvious answer is to lock doors from the inside but leave them unlocked from the outside. Fortunately, this technology exists and is used in the majority of commercial buildings. For the sake of safety, these doors are frequently equipped with numerous mechanisms.
Their primary source of power is motion sensors that detect when individuals leave. If the motion sensors fail, they contain “push to exit” buttons that, when pressed, automatically unlock the door. Furthermore, if an alarm or sprinkler goes off, these doors fully unlock. They’re also fail-safe, which means they’ll unlock even if the building’s power goes out.
These doors are beneficial, but there are other factors to consider besides safety.
Every portion of a building must have access to these unlocked emergency exit doors at all times. As a result, one of the fire safety rules requires that no door along this corridor be able to lock at all. You must consider not only the lock on the emergency exit door, but also any other locks that people may meet along the road.
When Safety Doesn’t Go As Planned
Although the aforementioned emergency exit door system appears to be ideal, there are a few situations in which you do not want a door that operates in this manner.
When your commercial building is unoccupied at night, the most typical safety issue develops, and you don’t need these doors to be able to close so simply. If a burglar can set off the fire alarm or utilise another burglary technique, they will be able to gain access through the now-completely unlocked doors.
It will be necessary to figure out a way to make these doors open only when other people are inside. You must make a small concession in terms of safety by providing a mechanism to totally lock these emergency exit doors at least occasionally.
Another situation in which these safety doors are a bad idea is when the persons inside are unable to exercise their autonomy for any reason. This is due to the fact that they are mentally impaired or otherwise psychologically compromised adults, children with underdeveloped brains, or criminals who have lost their independence as a result of their arrest.
In these situations, you must have someone stationed at the door who can unlock the doors in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, you will need to secure these doors from the inside to prevent escape. If a criminal could simply utilise an emergency exit door, a kid or mental patient could be wounded, and a criminal could cause disturbance or escape entirely.
Security of Emergency Exit Doors
To avoid criminality, emergency escape doors must be locked from the outside at all times.
Various electrical devices installed on modern emergency escape doors help to avoid crime. Although they can be unlocked from the inside, the lock is physically locked in the same way as all other locks. The lock is located in the door and is activated by an electric motor only when someone on the inside needs to open it.
Motion sensors, sirens, and buttons, as previously stated, can deactivate this electric motor and move the lock. Thankfully, none of these methods are open to the public. At all times, the emergency exit door is actually locked.
This regulation is only broken in the event of a power outage. The deadbolt is deactivated by an electrical disruption, and the door is now unlocked in both directions. A thief may theoretically find a way to turn off the electricity and unlock the emergency exit doors, but this is unlikely.
Shutting down a commercial building’s entire power supply is usually only possible from the inside. You wouldn’t require a way in at that point.
When Things Go Wrong With Security
This type of enterprise security may not be the best option in some cases.
When people are automatically locked out from the outside, it can be an issue when you need someone to come in as soon as possible. In the event of an emergency, emergency exit doors are meant to provide simple and accessible routes. If you’re in a scenario where emergency personnel are needed immediately, they may not be able to arrive as quickly as you’d like.
For example, paramedics are outsiders who may want immediate access for safety reasons. Of course, they should have access to the conventional entrance points in most cases, such as an unanticipated medical emergency.
However, in some emergency situations, these common methods may be inaccessible. An earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, for example, may have wreaked havoc on the structure, obliterating the main entrance points. This could have been caused by fire as well.
When it comes to firefighting, firefighters can face a similar issue. A firefighter enters the structure from whichever point has the most smoke, which means they have access to every area at all times. High-security locks in any location can obstruct this.
Firemen are sometimes able to access master key boxes inside buildings. This compromises security under the guise of safety. Buildings that are overly secure, on the other hand, can obstruct firefighters’ access.
Accessibility of Emergency Exit Doors
Outside of the duality of safety and security, there is the third issue when constructing emergency exit locks: accessibility.
People have varying levels of knowledge and may use their bodies in different ways. You must ensure that they can all securely escape a building at any given time. When creating these doors, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
First and foremost, using the emergency exit door should not necessitate any specific skills. Unlike keypads and passwords, these doors cannot be hidden behind them. They’re also not meant to require any special tools, such as a key, to open.
Second, make sure the opening gadget is simple to operate. This usually implies using crash bars so that the door can open even if you don’t have complete control of your hands.
They should also be able to be opened with minimal effort. It should never be a problem if you are physically incapable of opening the door.
The path to the emergency exit door should be identified clearly. Even if someone is panicked and unable to think clearly, they should be able to locate the exit quickly.
The rules described above, once again, apply to any door that blocks the emergency evacuation path, not only the emergency exit door.
When Accessibility Doesn’t Go As Planned
Because accessibility isn’t linked to a fundamentally opposing dichotomy like safety and security, it’s a good idea to have it in any form. However, there are a few unlikely instances that could cause problems.
The majority of the issues with enhanced accessibility are the same as those with increased safety: they can make it simpler for people attempting to open doors for illegal purposes to accomplish so.
An emergency exit door that is easy to locate is easy to locate an escape route. Even if the door is locked at night, a lightweight door can be forced open. Because these doors cannot be secured with keys or keypads, any criminal can open them from the inside at any time.
These possibilities are only a problem if the offender has already entered the building and is attempting to avoid restraint. The locks don’t interfere with security when someone tries to break in to the building. And once they’re inside, there’s not much that can stop them.
These accessibility precautions may exacerbate the worst-case scenario, but they don’t significantly compromise security. Increased accessibility is, once again, essentially unproblematic.
An emergency escape that is both safe and secure is more or less attainable. There will always be compromises, but for the time being, most emergency exits will be safe in the majority of crises and secure in the majority of burglaries.
When selecting an emergency escape door for your commercial facility, you must consider all of these factors. Make sure your emergency exits contain all of the necessary components to be as effective as possible.