Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that if someone has a question, there’s usually someone else out there wondering the same thing.  I received a question recently about testing of fire exit hardware – when panic hardware is tested for use on fire doors, is it mounted on the fire side (facing the furnace) or the non-fire-side of the door?

When I attended a couple of fire tests a while back, the doors swung toward the furnace.  Those doors did not have fire exit hardware – they had lever-handle locksets, but if a door with fire exit hardware swung toward the furnace that would put the fire exit hardware on the non-fire side.  I thought I remembered hearing that the fire exit hardware goes on the furnace side of the door, so I asked one of Allegion’s compliance engineers, Matt Phillips:

When UL certifies fire exit hardware they typically want to see both swings for several reasons:

  • An inswinging door is generally the worst case for the fire endurance test as the door will bow into the furnace more since the stop is not there to prevent the movement.
  • UL is looking for excessive door movement, secure hardware, and gaps that may open up.
  • An inswinging door is not, however, the worst case for a hose stream test since the hose stream impacts the fire side of the door which will push against the frame stops.
  • The outswinging assembly lets UL verify the security of the latching hardware under the pressure of the hose stream.
  • UL is also looking to see if through openings are created during the hose stream portion of the test.

So there you have it, fire exit hardware is tested both ways to see how the opening will perform when the hardware is exposed to the fire, and also when the hardware is on the opposite side of the door.  This ensures that the fire door assembly will perform as designed and tested regardless of the location of an actual fire.

Here are some photos from Matt of a test in progress:

Fire Exit Hardware on non-fire side

Fire Exit Hardware on fire side

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