Panic Hardware – Getting to Know the Basics

Injuries resulting from panic hardware are more prevalent than you may think. Injuries can be because of lack of maintenance on these devices and/or installation of spurious parts or components.  As an entryway and hardware master witness and forensic consultant, I have been retained on many cases where installed panic hardware has been the source and cause of severe substantial injuries. As a hands-on contractor and installer, I have personally installed and serviced thousands of panic devices, and I have encountered, evaluated and resolved problems that arise with these pieces of specialty hardware.

The three most regular problems that I have witnessed in panic hardware entryway related injuries are (1) Improper installation (2) Poor maintenance (3) Placement of inappropriate secondary locks.

Panic hardware is an entryway part that was designed to allow fast and unrestricted exit from a doorway. Panic hardware is typically found on hallway doors where fire requirements compartmentalize and separate areas to aid in the smoke, fire or heat control of a commercial building, lodging, or hospital. They are also usually found on the leave doors of most high traffic or high density buildings such as cinemas, large arena complexes, or restaurants. Panic hardware is appropriate almost any place where fast evacuation from a building may be the distinction among life and death of the occupants (Life Safety).

The most important aspect of all panic devices is that no special information is required to use them. You simply push a bar, a bar or other activator, the latch mechanism is retracted and you are able to push the entryway open. These types of devices work uniquely in contrast to a typical entryway lock, in that they are designed to allow exit without the use of a key or any rotary movement of any kind. They are usually installed in the path of travel toward the exit of a building or controlled passageway. These devices are supposed to be equally suitable for the usage of handicapped (ADA Compliant) or able bodied individuals.

There have been changes made to panic devices throughout the years to improve the ease of use for ADA compliance and improve the overall safety of the general open. Early hardware singapore devices were originally designed utilizing a horizontal channel or flat bar attached to the entryway. A pair of arms that turn on base plates at each side of the funnel or bar allow the panic gadget to operate and activate a latch retractor mechanism when pushed. While these devices work when appropriately maintained, there have been various injury claims relating to the malfunction of this style of entryway panic hardware. Inadequately maintained and incorrectly replaced hardware of this style has been the cause of severe injuries in several cases where I have been retained as an entryway hardware master witness.