Wait a minute – WHAT???

mullionFor several months I’ve been trying to find out more about the research that was conducted years ago regarding the use of a mullion on a pair of doors.  It could be one of those urban legends of door hardware, but as the story goes, when a university tested egress through a pair of doors, people could exit faster through a pair with a center mullion.  I’ve tried to track this down through at least 30 different hardware people with a special interest in codes and I still haven’t been able to find it.  If you have any insight into this research, click here and scroll down to leave a comment.  If your tip leads to the successful apprehension of this research, you’ll receive a reward from the IR Prize Vault.

Today, an article hit my desk regarding recent research at the University of Tokyo.  The study showed that placing an obstruction next to a door helped people exit more efficiently by preventing them from jostling for position at the door and creating friction.  The research also showed that people exiting in a single-file line were the most efficient.  Perhaps the mullion in the earlier test helped people form two lines to allow for faster egress. 

It always shocks and saddens me to read about tragic fires and find out that many of the victims were trapped right at or in the door opening, only steps from safety.  Hopefully this type of research will further improve the safety of our exits in the future.         

Here is an article about this research from Inside Science, and another one from Homeland Security Newswire.  This article from Physics Central Buzz Blog includes comments from readers.

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