Whether you own a building for your business or rental space, it is important to check for proper safety equipment including the panic latch on fire exits. Safety standards require any exit from a building to be easy to open, without using a key.
When you move from an office to a larger space, out to a hallway and down emergency stairs to the exit, you need to be able to turn the handle or press a latch. This allows you to pass through easily. In a hotel, for example, bedrooms are accessed by key for security and safety. Someone could mistake a door for an exit if it was not locked. Yet, for exiting you simply turn the handle to get out. Below, we explain how a panic latch is different.
What Is A Panic Door Latch?
A door latch for exits has to open easily, but also offer high security from the outside. If a door can be opened from the outside of a building with ease, someone could break in. Panic door latches are designed to be easy to open, while inside the building, when a building is occupied. They are also designed to remain closed at all times and locked from the outside to ensure safety and security.
These door latches might have a chain placed on them during non-operating hours ensuring they are padlocked from the outside. The padlock is then removed during the day. Others might have a barrel bolt with a stop that prevents it from being withdrawn during closed hours, but can be removed with a special key during operating hours. The type of door and latch for emergency exits can differ greatly, therefore, understanding the options can help you provide safety, security and remove any liability from you.
What Are The Different Types?
The main types available are usually Touch Bar, Push Bar or Push Pad. The latches are designed to comply with European Standards and CE regulations. The touch bar is a standard panic exit latch which adheres to EN1125:2008 regulations. These are the latches you often see at the hospital, shopping centre, or in a cinema. They have a bar that is pressed to open the door from the inside. The latch is locked open during the day so the door can be opened from the outside.
Push bar panic latches use vertical bolts or mortice night latch. Again, the same safety standard applies, and this can be used in any public place. It is a push bar style in which the bar moves inward when pushed.
A push pad is a smaller emergency exit latch with a large push pad. It can be used for single or double doors as the push bar latch can. These are usually seen in an office, warehouse, or factory.
What Differences Do They Have?
The touch and push bar is an actual bar that runs along the entire length of the door, whereas the push pad is located on the side of the door that is meant to open. In other words, it is opposite the hinge side. The push pad is smaller in terms of area to grab and push onto during a fire or panic situation. The push bar and push pad are useable on a single or double door application, while the touch bar does not indicate the same usage.
The touch bar also has a single point latching with a non-handed design to make it easy for any right or left hand application. The push bar has two vertical shoot bolts at the top and bottom that the push bar releases.
Whatever you end up choosing, it is vital that your panic latch is easy to use, particularly in an emergency situation.