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Panic Hardware

Panic Hardware on Electric Rooms

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE 2014 NATIONAL ELECTRIC CODE.  CLICK HERE TO READ THE NEW ARTICLE. Beginning with the 2002 edition, the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) requires that certain types of electric rooms have doors that open in the direction of egress and are “equipped with panic bars, […]

New Requirements for Nightclubs in Massachusetts

In the Good Old Days when I was a more frequent nightclub visitor, I remember trying to exit through a club’s main entrance at closing time and encountering a locked door. The manager had locked the door to prevent more people from coming in. The vestibule was dark, and the dark bronze storefront door had […]

Blumcraft Center Housing

I am running into more and more all-glass doors on my projects, and in the words of one of the contractors I’m working with, “Doors are being asked to do things they’ve never done before.”  I’ve had large glass panels pivoting at the center, glass doors acting as opening protectives in fire-rated walls, and glass doors […]

How It All Began

This article was written by Carl Prinzler, one of the creators of the original exit device, at the end of the 1930’s.  I think it’s an interesting insight into the development of the first exit device and the code requirements at that time. How It All Began A rambling story of the birth of Von […]

Doors Gone Wrong

This is one of those openings that makes me cringe…yuck!  But I can’t let a teachable moment go by.  Yesterday I got a call from an architect who asked whether it was acceptable to put a panic device on one leaf of a pair when only that leaf is required for egress width.  The codes […]

Retrofit Dogging

I’ve spent several phone calls this week discussing “dogging” with one of my favorite clients.  I guess it is kind of hard to keep straight if you’re not a hardware person.  The term “dogging” refers to holding the latch(es) of a panic device retracted to create a push/pull function.  When the panic device is dogged, […]

High Security Dogging

I think this photo speaks for itself.  I just love the creativity and the lengths people will go to with these modifications.  It’s kind of sad that I get my kicks from looking at doors gone wrong, but admit it…you do too! I’ve had this picture for a really long time and I can’t remember […]

Astragals with Vertical Rod Panics

An astragal is a piece of molding used on a pair of doors or between the top and bottom leaves of a Dutch door, to provide security, protect against weather conditions, prevent light or sound transmission, or to retard the passage of smoke, flame, or gases during a fire.  On a Dutch door the astragal is […]

Rod Guards

I’m a big fan of creative hardware applications like these PVC rod guards on an exterior pair in a high school, but I think they should have considered adding some bottom latch guards.  The latches don’t even have their covers!   FYI…Von Duprin does manufacture rod and latch guards – the RG-27, also available as a rod […]

Pocket Pivots

I recently received this photo from an architect who wanted to use the Von Duprin Inpact devices pictured here on another museum I’m working on.  I’ve used these several times when an architect wanted the panic device powder coated a similar color to the door.  As with LCN closers, Von Duprin panic hardware can be powder coated in […]

All Aboard!

Yesterday we drove from Front Royal, Virginia to Grassy Cove, Tennessee, which is a VERY long drive.  We usually plan on stopping somewhere for the kids to burn off some energy, and yesterday’s stop was at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.  I can find an interesting (to me) hardware application just about anywhere, […]

Cracker Barrel Shocker!!!

There are almost 600 Cracker Barrel restaurants in the United States and I’ve been to most of them.  Well…not most, but a bunch.  The kids like the food and there’s a lot of miscellaneous stuff on the walls that we can use to play, “Who can find the _______?”  When you drop a whole cup […]

10-Year Warranty

It’s true!  The new Falcon 24/25 device has a 10-year mechanical warranty (1-year electrical). 10 years is a really long time.  10 years ago I was single, living on my own, and working for Reyn and Harris at MPS Sales as the only specwriter in our office.  The highlight of my life at that point […]

Another Day, Another Zoo…

…Another funky hardware application. When we visited the zoo in Albany, Georgia, I saw this restroom door with applied wood trim and I thought it was pretty cool how they detailed the trim around the push plate and deadbolt.  Then I went inside and saw the homemade parallel arm shoe mounting bracket – YUCK! And just […]

Cycle Testing

We’re in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the good news is that the specwriter Chip and I came to see has agreed to include Falcon exit devices in his specifications!  Yippee! The bad news is that we arrived a bit early for Bike Week, but I figured it’s still a good place to mention cycle testing.  […]

Heading Home

We’re on our way home today, and barring any surprises we’ll arrive tomorrow.  For the first time we’re hitting the road without knowing where we’ll be sleeping tonight, but I’m sure we’ll find a hotel and if not, I’ll be calling my Mid-Atlantic or Metro New York SSC buddies to see who has room at […]

Give Peace a Chance

We had planned to get on the road early yesterday afternoon but we ended up leaving Williamsburg around 5 p.m., about the same time everyone else coming home from everywhere decided to leave.  The traffic was terrible, and after 6 hours of driving we had gone as far as Elkton, Maryland and couldn’t stay in […]


When this photo arrived in my inbox, I immediately thought the panic was mounted in that position to be operated by someone’s foot.  I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the latching/unlatching situation…I really think it’s just being used as a pull bar and that there’s no strike installed.  On my next road trip maybe […]

“For a Quick Exit, Just Block the Fire Door”

Wait a minute – WHAT??? For 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 […]

What’s wrong with this picture?

If you regularly check this site to find out what’s new and exciting in the world of doors and hardware, you may have occasionally experienced a server error.  Yesterday I asked the web hosting company to move the site to a more stable server to avoid these errors, which they agreed to do at midnight.  I […]

Less Bottom Rod Pair (LBR)

Last week I posted a photo of a double egress pair I saw on a recent site visit, and asked “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” regarding the photo on the bottom right.  I received quite a few correct answers and some good guesses. The plastic on the armor plates, while distracting and ugly, is not […]

Lock or Panic Protector

I recently received this photo of a door in a hospital with the question, “What does the code prescribe for lock/panic protectors on fire-rated and non-rated doors?” I know some of you will point out that the exit device is not fire-rated (evident because of the dogging hole), and others will note that the glass […]

Restaurant Egress

I’d be rich if I had a dime for every time I explained that panic hardware is required for Assembly and Educational occupancies with an occupant load of more than 100 people (per IBC 2000 or 2003, NFPA 101) or more than 50 people (per IBC 2006 or 2009).  Well, maybe I’d just have a bunch of […]

Panic Hardware on Balanced Doors

Last week, someone asked me about code requirements related to panic hardware on balanced doors.  (If you’re not sure what a balanced door is, there’s a good explanation here.)  The project in question is in Israel, and apparently the code requirements there do not include any specific requirements for panic hardware on balanced doors.  However, […]

Build Boston

I spent 10 hours yesterday attending seminars (or waiting for the next one to start) at Build Boston, the largest regional convention and trade show for the design and construction industry. There were over 200 workshops and 250 exhibitors, and I saw lots of architect and specifier friends, not to mention enough door and hardware […]

Tubular Panics on Wood Doors

Here’s another photo from my day at Build Boston.  You don’t see this application often – Blumcraft or CR Laurence tubular exit devices on wood doors.  I think they look pretty nice.  I would have done something different with the closers, and I wouldn’t have specified a key cylinder (the chunky square thing above each […]

Freedom for Chip

I’m sure that some of you remember the family road trip I took last summer, and the fact that I took along a Falcon exit device, nicknamed Chip Falcon. If you missed it, or if you just want to see the Doors of Colonial Williamsburg again, here’s a link to the series. Since we returned […]

Wicked Restroom Doors

It’s been 40 days since I’ve mentioned a ladies room, and I just saw an application that I can’t resist posting about. I played hooky today with my daughter and a friend to go see a production of Wicked at the Providence Performing Arts Center.  We arrived as the show was about to start, but […]

Survey Q4: “What are some ‘rules’ regarding fire doors?”

Back to business after a brief vacation in Costa Rica… This is the 5th post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent (unscientific) survey. Rule #2 – A fire door must be SELF-LATCHING. This means that when a fire door closes, it latches, typically with either a lockset/latchset or fire […]

Middle School Entrance

Last night I went to a presentation at one of our 3 local middle schools, which I’m guessing was built in the 70’s.  What struck me right away was that the exterior doors are all about 10′ tall, and the interiors are about 9′ with a transom panel above.  What a strange application for a […]

Retrofit Dogging Pin

I’ve seen lots of creative ways of dogging fire exit hardware, but this one gets an “E” for Effort (along with an “F” for Fail).  These devices are on fire doors in a hotel ballroom, and while someone went to great lengths on this modification, these doors are supposed to be self-latching to compartmentalize the […]

“EL” vs. “E”

Last week I got a compliment about this site from a security consultant, and I asked him if there were any topics he’d like me to do a post about.  He said that a post on electrified lever trim (E) vs. electric latch retraction (EL) would be helpful since he spends a lot of time […]

Glass Door Hardware

I spend a lot of time with architects, and sometimes I’m put in the awkward position of having to talk them out of trying to do something with doors that hasn’t been successfully done before.  Many times this involves glass doors, which are becoming more common, yet still have very few options for hardware.  It’s […]

Von Duprin QEL Device

I visited a jobsite today and saw some QEL devices in action.  If you’re not familiar with the QEL device, it is a *quiet* version of the electric latch retraction exit device.  When the access control system (card reader, key fob, etc.) signals the door to unlock, the latch(es) retract to allow someone to pull […]

Reader Photos

The good news is that these doors are being replaced, presumably with doors that will provide security without jeopardizing life safety.  The bad news is that this is a popular restaurant and their main entrance doesn’t come close to meeting the requirements for egress. I usually see cane bolts like this used to hold the […]

Planetarium Exit

When I need inspiration for what to write about and nobody has sent me a good code question that day, all I have to do is look back at my photos from family outings.  That’s sad, I know.  🙂 During the summer I took the kids to a children’s museum that had a planetarium.  The […]

Surgical Suite Entry

I have been amazed and touched by the number of people who actually read my Good News/Bad News post all the way to the end and took the time to call or email me about my daughter’s surgery.  Thank you so much for your care and concern.  It has been a tough week and an […]

Courtyard Egress

A few weeks ago I did a post about egress from an occupied roof, and that reminded me to go back and dig out some courtyard photos I took a while ago.  When a courtyard is completely enclosed with no means of egress that leads directly to a public way, the path of egress is […]

Reader Photos

My inbox is overflowing with reader photos again.  Thanks everyone! From Jerry Heid of Advantage Lites and Louvers / Zero International, a gravity closer on a restaurant entrance: From Adam King of Vulcan Lock, a reminder of why closers shouldn’t be installed on the exterior: From Nolan Thrope of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies – Metro-NY, […]

Extended Latch Guards

For exterior pairs I prefer to use rim panic devices with a removable mullion, but in some cases surface-mounted vertical rod devices are specified and supplied.  When vertical rod devices are used on cross-corridor doors, I often specify them “Less Bottom Rod” (LBR), but on exterior doors I specify them with both top and bottom […]

WW: Herpetological Access Control

If you’re not familiar with Wordless Wednesday (WW), it’s when bloggers post a photo which speaks for itself, without any words to gum up the experience.  This post isn’t technically wordless, but here’s the first WW photo: Photo courtesy of Robot_Cowboy, via Flickr.  Permission granted 1/13/11. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this […]

Theater Egress

Today I went to a performance at a theater on a local college campus.  The theater has 650 seats, so all of the required egress doors are supposed to have panic hardware.  There are 4 pairs in the main lobby, all equipped with paddle devices which don’t qualify as panic hardware.  One of the requirements […]

Carpet (Touch)Pad

I’m in Las Vegas for a meeting that starts in a couple of days, and I’m pretty sure I could find enough cool and creative doors here to last me for a few months. Today we visited Red Rock Canyon (not a lot of doors there), the Hoover Dam (more doors there than you’d think), […]

What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted one of these “quiz” photos but I want to see if you’ve been paying attention. This pair is at the Hoover Dam…right near the touchpad devices with the carpet modification. So, take a good look and leave a comment telling me what the problem is. I’ll hold […]

Panic Fail

I tend to notice hardware on TV and movies (just ask my family!), but this video is probably the best (worst) example I’ve seen of doors gone bad for the sake of TV production.  It was sent in by Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd. in Israel.  The commercial is in Hebrew but the panic […]

Von Duprin at the Shatford Centre

Since we seem to be on an antique doors and hardware run, I thought you’d like to see these oldies but goodies.  They were spotted at the Shatford Centre in Penticton, British Columbia.  The building was recently renovated and the main entrance doors and hardware were replaced, and the process was chronicled in detail on […]

Shatford Centre Follow-Up

Last week I posted photos of some very old Von Duprin exit devices which were originally installed on the entrance doors to the Shatford Centre in Penticton, British Columbia.  I later communicated with the millworker, Plexus Woodworks, who built the new doors, and several people from the Shatford Centre, as well as other blog readers […]

WW: Vertical(?) Rods

Thank goodness it’s Wordless Wednesday because I have no words for these photos.  Well, no words other than – deadbolts aren’t allowed on double-egress doors, and UL listed hardware can’t be modified.  Believe it or not, these exit devices actually work (as long as the deadbolt isn’t engaged!). Do you know someone who would like […]

Reader Photos – 1 of 2

I’ve received lots of reader photos lately…thank you, and keep ’em coming! From Kurt Roeper of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, taken on his recent trip to China.  In the facility’s defense, iDigHardware seems to be blocked by the Great Firewall of China, so it’s no wonder they have hardware problems.  The first photo is of […]

Decoded: New Occupant Load Requirements for Panic Hardware (May 2011)

This post was printed in the May 2011 issue of Doors and Hardware [Click here to download a reprint of this article.] I started studying code requirements related to hardware in the mid-90’s, and I decided to conduct a little “survey” to see if my fellow hardware consultants could benefit from having a resource for […]

WWYD? – Restaurant Egress (Again)

I’d love to know who did this, so I can give them a good talking-to (maybe they’ll read this and track me down like the semi-concealed closer installer). This photo was taken in a restaurant by one of my coworkers.  The tables and chairs are blocking the door, and someone trying to exit would have […]

Reader Photos

All of today’s reader photos came from my compañeros at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies: From Tim Weller, a door which requires 3 motions (and a key!) to exit…a knob, an exit alarm, and a key-operated deadbolt.  If this is a required means of egress, the codes require a single motion and no prior knowledge to […]

Rainy Relay

<—  You know what that’s a photo of???  Rain – torrential rain, at our Relay for Life event this weekend.  It rained on and off for most of the relay, but it was REALLY bad at night.  Even the die-hard high school kids in the campsite next to ours ended up sleeping in a friend’s […]

Reader Photos

Here’s the latest batch of reader photos…don’t forget to send me any interesting doors you see on your summer vacations! From Mary Hinton of Mulhaupt’s Inc., a McDonald’s bathroom door that would provide a convenient peephole for the kiddies.  Amazingly, this is not the first time we’ve seen this creative resolution to the problem. This […]

WW: Kansas Statehouse

Wow!  Feast your eyes on this retrofit 994L lever trim for a Von Duprin 98/99 device.  It was made by Cirecast, for the Kansas Statehouse.  Gorgeous!   Photos submitted by Andy Buse of Von Duprin, posted with permission from Peter Morenstein of Cirecast, Inc. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Biltmore Bonus

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday weekend…I have to admit it was really nice to take some time off. I’ve been in Grassy Cove, Tennessee since Friday and there aren’t a whole lot of doors here, but luckily I’ve got some saved up from last week. We’re headed toward home tomorrow so […]

The Ultimate Test

I got a Tweet today from @GinnyPowell, who was attending a Von Duprin training.  She was surprised that the fire truck video is still around, and once she mentioned it I just had to go back and watch it again.  It’s a classic!  I love the fire test engineer…”I am now checking the device…”  I […]

Seaside Hotel, Tel Aviv

This is a very unusual door – stone clad and an exterior opening only about 100 feet from the ocean.  The door and panic hardware were installed by Entry Systems Ltd., the stone, mag-lock, and wood surround were added by someone else.  The photos were sent to me by Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd., […]

WW: Summer School

This is on the front door of the elementary school where my kids have their summer program.  I guess they don’t know about the Quiet Doorman.   You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Going Nowhere

This photo was sent in by Kathi Frelk of Anderson Lock (check out their blog!).  It’s perfect for Wordless Wednesday because I have no words for this application.  Well, I guess I could say that two rim devices with a removable mullion would have been a much more secure application, but would anyone listen? Thanks Kathi! You […]

Open Back Strikes

A couple of weeks ago one of my coworkers, Rich Conroy, took a phone call from someone with questions about open back strikes.  Rich asked me to write a post that he could refer people to, and the hold-up was that I had to find a photo.  Not the photo you see in a catalog […]

WW: Ridglea Theater, Fort Worth TX

These photos were sent in by Morriss Johnson of CMA, the architectural firm working on the renovation of the Ridglea Theater.  The first two photos are nice, but I LOVE the one of the pair.  And YES, it is a required egress door. Thanks Morriss!! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WWYD? – Police Station

One of my favorite job-related activities is going into a facility and helping with their hardware problems.  This week I was called into a police station to look at a door that had allowed several escapes, as well as the main entrance.  I thought it would be fun to see what you all would recommend […]

WW: Doubly-Safe? Or Double-Trouble?

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photo was sent in by David Sochaczevski, an architect with the Soltron Group in Montreal.  David saw this door near the Stitch ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  At first glance this application clearly looks like a code problem, but I just couldn’t imagine Disney purposely installing hardware that would require two motions […]

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World, by TJ Gottwalt

I was just thinking to myself how nice it would be to have a night off…actually, since it’s already 8:30 p.m. it’s more like a half-night.  Then I remembered that last week I received an article from a “guest blogger.”  Woohoo!  Thanks TJ! IT’S A DOG EAT DOG WORLD By: T.J. Gottwalt, AHC, CDC, CSI, […]

WW: Honky-Tonk Egress

I received a lot of vacation photos this summer, including these from my pal Eyal Bedrik of Entry Systems Ltd in Israel, who apparently spent 5 weeks in the U.S. but didn’t stop by to visit me.  😉 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Decoded: Luminous Egress Path Markings (Updated August 2017)

This post was printed in the October 2011 issue of Doors & Hardware Updated August 2017 Requirements for  luminous egress path markings (NFPA 101 calls them “Exit Stair Path Markings”) were first added to the 2009 editions of the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, and NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code. These […]

Oldies But Goodies

Within one week I received two requests for help regarding old Von Duprin panic devices.  I know that somebody out there has a dusty old file cabinet with information on these products.  Ideally, we’d like to find exploded parts diagrams, installation instructions, or any other relevant information.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller? Sent in by Peter Schifferli, […]

More Museum Hardware

Last weekend I put together the annual family photo album so I could order copies for the grandparents.  Mixed in with all of the vacation photos were a ton of doors.  Someday my grown-up kids will be on the psychiatrist’s couch…“My mother always took us places just so she could look for interesting doors…I’m scarred […]

Panic Hardware Visibility

If you went to hardware school (like me), then you were taught that egress doors have to be visible and have an obvious method of operation, right?  Well, every so often the question comes up regarding visibility of panic hardware, usually because someone wants to match the finish of a Von Duprin Inpact device to […]

WW: Going Nowhere

This photo was sent in by Pat Bond of Shanahan’s in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  Thanks Pat! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Edge Channels

Even though I risked being called a weirdo by my colleagues, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to learn more about the 5″ wide edge channels that are sometimes required on fire-rated wood doors with concealed vertical rod exit devices.  When these channels show up on the jobsite without warning, architects tend to […]

Mullions…What’s not to love??

Way back in hardware school we were taught that rim panic hardware with a removable mullion is the most secure and maintenance-free application for a pair of doors.  Most facilities prefer mullions instead of vertical rod panic hardware, which can be difficult to install and to keep properly adjusted.  On the other hand, most architects […]

WW: Surface Bolts with Panic Hardware

By the time most of you read this it will be Thursday, but right now it’s Wordless Wednesday! Sent in by Steve Turner of Precision Doors and Hardware…a fairly common but definitely not code-compliant retrofit: Sent in by Steve Monroe of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies…the sign does not make this ok!  Anybody know why not? […]

Reader Photos

How about some reader photos to ease you into the weekend? 😀 Jim Lenox of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies found a rescue hardware application I had never seen before.  Instead of a cased opening frame, the door is mounted on the stop.  Is this how they used to do a rescue hardware door in the […]

The Ultimate Test – Take II

Remember the old video of the various types of exit devices being run over by a fire truck?  It’s a classic, and I still get the urge to watch it every so often…“I am examining the [flattened] device.  It is not working.”  You could make the case that a panic device doesn’t need to withstand […]

More Reader Photos

These ALL came from Jeff Tock, one of our national trainers who spends most weeks traveling around conducting classes and sees a lot of doors in the process.  Jeff will be here in New England in a few weeks conducting the “Preparing for a Fire Door Inspection” class for facilities.  If you work for a […]

WW: Hockey Rink Egress

I was working on a different post but that one will have to wait.  I just received these photos, it’s Wordless Wednesday, and I am wordless (yes, again).  This is an exit for a hockey rink, sent in by an anonymous reader.  Hockey rinks are notoriously tough on their doors and hardware, but this “solution” […]

WW: Panic Attack

These buildings were ALL OCCUPIED when these photos were taken.  Depressing. From Jeff Bruno of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies: From Brendan Daley of Surveillance Specialties: From Wayne Ficklin of the Clark County Department of Aviation: From Nolan Thrope of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies: From Darren Patton of Isenhour Door: From Cliff Cohen of Armstrong Lock […]

Universal Studios Orlando

When I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago for the IAPSC conference, it also happened to be school vacation week so I brought the kids along for a visit to my parents’ house.  They all survived while I was in Miami Beach, so when I got back from the conference I took them […]

Von Duprin Concealed Vertical Cable Device

Fifteen+ years ago when I was answering technical support and customer service calls for the local Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies office, some of the most common complaints/questions were about concealed vertical rod exit devices.  Installers HATED them because they were difficult to install and adjust.  End users had a lot of problems maintaining them and […]

Everywhere I Go Again

More doors from my (local) travels… This is the main entrance to a bar in Boston.  I guess it’s not considered a nightclub, or it would have to comply with the revised requirements for nightclubs in Massachusetts.  The three locks are not code-compliant regardless, but I wonder how the codes define a nightclub.  Anyone know? […]

Q&A: Electric Latch Retraction on Fire Doors

Question:  I was told that I couldn’t use dogging on panic hardware installed on fire doors.  Is it acceptable to use electric dogging? Answer:  The short answer is “yes.”  Here’s the longer answer: One of the cardinal rules of fire doors is that they need to be “self-latching.”  During a fire, a fire door must […]

Decoded: Less Bottom Rod Fire Exit Hardware (September 2012)

This post was printed in the September 2012 issue of Doors & Hardware Vertical rod fire exit hardware is available with top and bottom rods and latches, or with the top rod and latch only – known as “less bottom rod” or “LBR” devices.   Eliminating the bottom rods and latches can help to meet accessibility […]

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca Morocco

I mentioned these gigantic doors in an earlier post, but I went back to see them again since we’re in the neighborhood.  The mosque wasn’t open for tours when we were there (the only way non-Muslims can go into a mosque), but I sent my husband in with a camera and he came back with […]

Q&A: Panic Hardware vs. Fire Exit Hardware

Question: What’s the difference between panic hardware and fire exit hardware?  And what’s an exit device? Answer: An exit device is the general term for panic hardware, a panic device, or fire exit hardware.  An exit device may be of the touchpad, crossbar, or recessed style, and it’s characterized by an actuating mechanism that spans […]

WW: Centsational Installation

Step 4:  Invert the cylinder cam as shown. Or use your creativity to avoid looking at the instructions. This photo was sent in by Jon Dudley of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Zoo Exit

Whatcha think?  Is this exit visible enough? Here’s a closer look at the panic hardware: Photo sent in by Chris Ostwinkle of DH Pace.  Keep them coming! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Vertical (Not Vertical Rod) Panics

I couldn’t have said it better myself…“Mullion?  Who needs a mullion when you can just turn the exit devices 90 degrees?”  From Chris Steward of Steward Steel, by way of Jim Phillips of SBS Associates.   You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Meeting Room Pair

I’m in Tucson this week for the BHMA Fall Meeting.  My husband thinks it’s all fun and games, but we’ve been working hard on some new standards – one for ligature-resistant hardware and one for residential hardware.  There’s a lot more on the agenda over the next couple of days, but it’s a beautiful area […]

WW: Airport Emergency Exit

On my way to Tucson I had a layover, and every single emergency exit door was set up similar to this one.  Thoughts? You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Sign of the Times

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Leaving Las Vegas

My trip to CoNEXTions 2012 in Las Vegas last week was a whirlwind!  There were so many people that I didn’t have a chance to catch up with – I don’t know if I can wait until CoNEXTions 2014 in Dallas! The day I was heading home, I got up early (at least by Las […]

WW: Another Airport Exit

This is becoming a recurring theme.  I’ll be in a few airports later this week…maybe I’ll see some more. A big thank-you to Jim Princehorn of Business Protection Specialists, for risking TSA detainment and sending these photos.  😀 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Bungee Cords

I can’t figure out whether these are providing security or acting as the door closers, but either way they leave me wordless! Thank you to Derek Ommert of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies for sending the photo! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Reader Photos

First, I need some help.  I’ve seen photos of this application a few times (including this one from Jim Jensen of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies), but what do you use to attach the two closers together?  Is it something that has to be custom made, or is there a standard part that can be repurposed […]

WW: Pull to Unlock

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Pool Gate Panic Hardware

I love hardware ingenuity, especially when it’s code-driven.  I’ve spent this week in Orlando with 500+ of my coworkers, and although we haven’t had a whole lot of time to hang out by the pool, I had to go check out an application that was spotted by one of our specwriters – Matt Wildman. According […]

Kiss Nightclub – Santa Maria, Brazil

I woke up this morning to yet another nightclub tragedy – this time in Santa Maria, Brazil.  This fire shared common issues with many of the past nightclub fires – a high occupant load, ignition of flammable foam or decorations, no working sprinklers, insufficient or unmarked exits, and a heartbreakingly-high loss of life.  The death […]

WW: Cut here to exit.

This photo was taken in a health care facility and was sent to me by both Jim Jensen and Jeff Tock of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.  🙁 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: 5 Motions to Release the Latch

As most of you know, a required egress door must typically operate with only one motion to release the latch.  The common exception is dwelling unit entry doors in hotels and apartment buildings, which can have one additional locking device if the occupant load of the unit is 10 or less.  Take a look at […]

WW: Wreckreation

This post did start out as a Wordless Wednesday post but I got a little carried away.  I have recently found myself in several places that are not my usual hang-outs…a roller skating rink, a ski lodge, and a laser tag toxic waste dump.  I think I should get some extra-credit Mom Points, especially for […]

Operational Force for Hardware

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in March of 2012, included an unexpected change regarding the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware.  This modification to the standards was made as an “editorial change,” which is typically used to address errors or make clarifications that do not affect the scope or application of […]

WW and WWYD: Panic Hardware Lockdown

Andrew Harris of Willis Klein sent me these photos of doors in a school district.  He had been called in to solve the problems that caused the school to resort to these locking measures. What would you recommend to help a school improve the lockdown capabilities of their panic hardware, and especially fire exit hardware? […]

WW: Public Safety Building

Vincent Chestnut of Alpha Locksmith spotted this problem on a visit to a local public safety building.  Not only does the door require two motions to unlatch, the thumbturn on the combination lock doesn’t look like it would be considered accessible. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Powerbolts

This opening is secured by power bolts, which are released via the wall switch.  The panic hardware is just for show…there’s no way for the devices to latch without a mullion.  🙁 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Decoded: Tactile Warning (June 2013)

This post was printed in the June 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware Question:  Am I required by code to provide a tactile warning on certain doors in my facility?  If tactile warning is required, are stair doors included?  What types of materials are allowed for tactile warning on doors? Answer:  The 1986 edition of […]

WW: Deadlocking Latch

Tim Kaye of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies sent me this photo of a required egress door in a school, which truly left me wordless.  🙁 You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

The Ballad of Carl Prinzler

Do you know who Carl Prinzler was?  Does the name ring a bell?  Carl worked in the door hardware industry back in the early 20th century, and was instrumental in developing the first exit device along with his employer, Vonnegut Hardware Company and his neighbor, Henry DuPont.  Recently Peter Wilson of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies […]

WW: Panic Hardware Protection

Assuming this is the back door of a restaurant, what’s wrong with these pictures sent in by Eric Miles of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies (other than the fact that the door is filthy!)? You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Reader Photos

Thank you to everyone who has sent me photos of doors they’ve seen in their travels (or while laying on the couch).  Kelly Chimilar from Allmar Inc. noticed these doors with an obvious egress problem while watching Thursday Night Football.  If you don’t know what the problem is, I will hold a special online study […]

WW: Push-Pull-Panic

Cory Yamaguchi of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies sent me this photo of an egress door he saw on an outing to the local dairy farm with his family.  I’m picturing a farm that hosts lots of visitors, not the type where the cow:human ratio is 100:1.  In addition to the creative application of pull handles, […]

Decoded: Panic Hardware on Electrical Rooms (November 2013)

This post was printed in the November 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] Beginning with the 2002 edition, the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) has included requirements for some electrical rooms to have doors that open in the direction of egress, and are “equipped with panic […]

WW: Creative Dogging

Although this isn’t a code violation since the doors are not fire rated, I firmly believe that failing to limit the ability to lock / unlock doors can severely impact security and the safety of building occupants.  What say you? Thank you to Keith Kimbrel and Wes Lunsford of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, who saw […]

WW: Velcro Dogging

In a brand-spanking-new huge and beautiful convention center, these attracted a lot of attention and MANY people mentioned them to me last week.  The panics have hex-key dogging, so I have no idea why they’ve resorted to wide-scale use of velcro.  Speaking of dogging…last night I went to an evening meeting at a school, and […]

WWYD? Gate with Access Control and Panic Hardware

Here’s a tough one… The fire marshal wants panic hardware (a panic on one leaf may suffice). The facility wants access control. What would you do?  Please leave a comment if you have any ideas. . Photos submitted by Sharon Ashton of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this […]

Reader Photos

It’s time to clean out my inbox again!  Here are some of the reader photos I’ve received.  Thanks to all who sent them! Denise Gorski of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies spotted these fire and egress door problems at a hotel.  I’m sure they have been repaired “without delay” as required by NFPA 80, right?   […]

Reader Photos

It’s been a while, so here are some of the many photos I’ve received from y’all… Eric Miles of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies saw some evidence that a flush end cap has advantages… And he also sent me a photo of one of my favorite special templates (LCN has more than 3,000 special templates!).  Anyone […]

FF: What Happened Here?

For the record, I DO know what happened here…do you?  I’ve only seen this one other time in my travels.  This photo is from Lloyd Seliber of Keying Solutions from Macau, China. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: Darn! They sent the wrong hand again! :D

This lever is not a code problem (although the astragal probably is – thanks Lee!), but the hand of the dummy lever should have been changed in the field so it didn’t have to be installed upside down.  Here’s how you do it (it’s easy!): Our installation instructions are available on – click the […]

WWYD? Connecting Classroom Doors

Many classrooms have a door connecting to the adjacent classroom.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but since most classrooms do not require a second means of egress, I think those doors are typically there for convenience.  I tried to find something in past codes that would have required the second door, but so far I […]

WW: Overlapping Astragal

Last week on The Building Code Forum, one of the members mentioned that their local police department recommended the installation of overlapping astragals on the exterior pairs at their schools.  This left me WORDLESS!  It definitely feels like 2 steps forward – 1 step back some days. This photo, from George Cutler of Quarters Hardware, illustrates […]

WWYD? Museum Gates

I’m looking for some ideas to help a designer with the gates in the sketches below.  Here’s the scenario: The gates lead to/from an area of a children’s museum designed for young kids, and the museum is looking for a way to limit access to the area so that only parents can enter with younger children.  […]

FF: Exit Alarm

I just realized that this post had not been published yet…but it’s still Friday!  Enjoy the weekend! The hardware on top is an old exit alarm, and the panic hardware has been modified so the vertical bar will actuate the exit alarm when someone pushes the crossbar of the panic.  INGENIOUS! Thank you to Rick […]

CONSTRUCT: Keeping Current on Codes

Visit the CONSTRUCT blog for posts from me and other industry bloggers! A few weeks ago I attended a presentation on accessibility standards at my local CSI chapter meeting.  The meeting was very well attended, as are many of the other code classes that I’ve been to or taught.  As specifiers, we need to stay […]

WW: Pool Access and Egress

Happy New Year!!! I can always count on my family road trips to result in some photos to share…remember the dollar bills on the ceiling, the Minister’s Treehouse, the day my kid got us locked in the hotel room, the super-steep h/c ramp in Costa Rica, Chip Falcon’s Road Trip, or the doors of Morocco?  We’re currently on […]

Doors of River Street – Savannah, Georgia

Before anyone says, “Why didn’t you stop and see me??”, we were only in Savannah for a quick lunch break.  🙂 Here are some interesting doors from the River Street vicinity… I saw this door and thought – “Cool!  Half-surface hinges!”  Ok – that makes me sound like a weirdo but that’s really what I thought.  […]

Reader Photos and Help Wanted

The photos from readers have piled up in my inbox again – thank you to everyone who has submitted them!  I will post more next week and try to get the pile under control.  I’ve also had a couple of requests for help… Kelly Corbett of Corbett Lock needs some help replacing a key for […]

FF: Random Creativity

If any of you attended DHI’s AH2 class in Savannah, Georgia back in the Good Old Days, you may have had one of my all-time favorite instructors – Bob Jutzi.  I actually use a lot of his techniques when I teach, to try to make my classes more engaging and dare I say “fun”?  I […]

Variable Door Thickness

I’ve specified hardware for A LOT of doors.  Thousands.  But I’ve never worked on a door like this one, where the door thickness varied from top to bottom.  When you have a door with an unusual thickness, you need to consider the interface between the lever trim/control, the lock body, and the panic hardware, along with the length […]

FF: Polar Vortex

I live just outside of Boston and I’m so tired of the cold winter weather we’ve had this year.  I went to a meeting last week and the entrance to the meeting room was from an interior corridor, but there was an exterior door at the end of the corridor nearby.  I noticed that the closer on the […]

WW: “Leave them LOCKED!”

In case you have a hard time reading the sign on the LHR leaf, it says “Please do not use these doors.  Leave them LOCKED!”  🙁 Thank you to Eric Rieckers of Yadon Construction Specialties for the photo, even though it made me sad.  Keep ’em coming! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite […]

FF: Rodless

Instead of maintaining the fire exit hardware on this pair of fire doors, the rods and most of the latches were removed and an exit alarm was installed.  The most disturbing part is that there are doors like this EVERYWHERE…fire doors and egress doors that will no longer perform as designed, tested, and required by code, because […]

Reader Photos

Here’s a big group of reader photos from the emailbox! Hal Kelton of DoorData Solutions spotted this modification to a magnetic holder in a hospital, and a padlocked classroom door.  🙁   Paul Goldense of Goldense Building Products sent me these photos of a heavy duty door stop on a manufacturing facility: More photos from the Polar Vortex, from […]

WW: Service Call

“What seems to be the problem?  Oh.” Thank you to my friends at New England Door Closer for the photo! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Decoded: Annual Inspection of Egress Doors (April 2014)

This post was published in the April 2014 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] There has been a lot of publicity about the annual inspections required for fire door assemblies, but we must also be familiar with the inspection and testing requirements for egress doors.  These requirements were […]

Shorty Panics

When panic hardware is installed, the actuating portion of the panic hardware must “extend at least one-half of the door leaf width.” I have been taught since my first days in hardware school, that this means the width of the touchpad or crossbar has to measure at least half the width of the door. But lately I’ve had a couple of situations where someone interpreted this in a different way…

WW: School Security

The Wordless Wednesday Winner is Logan Piburn, from Dyron Murphy Architects!  Logan sent me LOTS of photos, and explained that these were taken at various rural schools, most built in the early 70’s and still in use today.  The photos were taken during surveys to identify existing problems and plan renovations. Here’s one that left […]

Throwback Thursday – Reed Exit Device

I don’t recall ever seeing this type of device in person and I didn’t find any information online, so I went to my go-to resource – three treasured books by Adon Brownell, HAHC. And in the Architectural Hardware Specifications Handbook (1971), I found it – the hinged crossbar…

WW: Mall Security

This mall exit was spotted by William Hoppe of UC Merced, and the photos were sent to me by Chad Jenkins of the National Locksmithing Institute. Unbelievable…

Decoded: Operable Force for Door Hardware (Updated December 2017)

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in March of 2012, included an unexpected change regarding the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware…

WW: Vertical Rod Repair

When I look at a photo and can’t come up with the right thing to say, I know it needs to be posted for Wordless Wednesday…like this one from Kevin Taylor of Allegion…

Las Vegas Encore

I’m in Las Vegas at ISC-West (come visit me in Allegion booth #20031 if you’re here!), so I won’t have time to write a post for today, but in case you missed my previous photos of the doors of Las Vegas…

FF: School Cafeteria and Gym

These photos illustrate one school’s “fix” with regard to security on the cafeteria and gymnasium – unfortunately it happens to be completely non-code-compliant…

WW: Restaurant Exit

This illustrates why I disagree with “bending the rules” to allow non-code-compliant security devices to be used “after-hours.” When the fire marshal agrees to something like this, the compromise would typically come with a qualifier…

Guide to the ADA Standards – Chapters 1-3

Keys are a tough topic to address, because the accessibility standards mandate operable hardware which does not require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate. Keys obviously require tight grasping, tight pinching, and twisting of the wrist…

Certified Product Directories

Have you ever been working on a specification or submittal and needed to find out whether a particular product was certified, or listed for a certain application? Maybe the plans show an oversized fire door and you need to see if your preferred manufacturer has tested a door of the proper size…

FF: Airport Cart Protection

These doors are fire doors and also a marked exit, so a) replacing the fire exit hardware with surface bolts negates the positive latching, b) the rim strike that has been installed with the rim panic is not acceptable for use on a fire door, c) the guide rails prevent the inactive leaf from opening…

FF: Creative Pair Modification

This one goes out to my friends at Von Duprin Tech Support…I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular modification before. How about you?…

More from NYC

I’m busy preparing to start my next online Decoded course today, so here’s a quick post with some more photos from my trip to New York City. Most of my friends are still wondering why I took so many photos of doors – I did it for YOU! 🙂

FF: Fire Exit Hardware Modification

Fire doors are required to have an active latchbolt, so fire exit hardware (panic hardware for fire doors) is not equipped with a mechanical dogging mechanism that could be used to hold the latch retracted.  When the lack of dogging creates an inconvenience, creative modifications sometimes occur.  The added slidebolt on this fire exit hardware […]

Code Implications for Mechanical Hardware

Locksmiths are often called upon to increase security at an existing door or replace hardware that is damaged or defective. There are several code-related issues to note before getting started…

WW: PREPosterous

Here’s one for those of you who are familiar with hardware installation…what’s wrong with the door in this photo? Hint: It’s a fire-rated electrical vault door…

Understanding New Accessibility Requirements for Doors

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design went into effect in March 2012, but there are several requirements that continue to surprise architects and specifiers…

FF: Service Call

Jon Dudley from Allegion sent me this Fixed-it Friday photo after being called out to a hospital because of a panic device that was not functioning properly. The access control system would operate the device electrically, but two self-tapping screws had been installed on the underside of the device which prevented the touchpad from being actuated manually.

TBT: Golden Oldies

A few weeks ago I received an email from Peter Bernard, who recently took the position of Facilities and Operations Manager at Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Vermont. His email said, “Look what I found in the basement of the mansion.”…

FF: Rod Guards

Products installed as part of a fire door assembly must be listed or labeled for that purpose. Components that are not listed or labeled must not be attached to the fire door and may void the label. In two recent cases I have seen non-listed protective guards for hardware as well as blinds installed on fire doors…

Back-2-Basics: Handing 101

I have been asked about door handing SO MANY TIMES over the years…hopefully with your help we can address the questions once and for all. Leave me a comment if I forgot anything!

Assembly Doors with Mag-Locks

In a recent discussion about code change proposals, there was a question about whether electromagnetic locks should be an acceptable alternative to panic hardware, on doors serving Assembly occupancies – essentially the application shown in the photos below. If approved, a door serving an assembly space, and perhaps even Educational occupancies depending on how the proposal was written, could have mag-locks released by a sensor, and no panic hardware – no latching device at all…

Access to Panic Hardware

I’m sure you’ve seen panic hardware with some sort of guard or protection above, below, or around the panic. Should the codes define a certain area of free space around the panic hardware, ensuring that the actuating portion is obvious and readily available to someone using the exit? How much clear space is needed?

FF: Thru-Bolts, Who Needs ‘Em?

It’s my 20th anniversary with the company, my site has had more than 1 million pageviews, and I just received one of my favorite photos EVER! Check it out…

WW: School Security

These are egress doors in an occupied school gym. Luckily they are going to be replaced shortly, but meanwhile, I’m Wordless.

6 Accessibility Changes to Watch Out For (November 2014)

The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design went into effect in March of 2012, but there are several requirements that continue to surprise architects and specifiers as well as door and hardware suppliers. These issues can be costly to resolve if they’re discovered after the doors and hardware are on-site, so it’s important to stay current on the requirements…

FF: Fire Exit Hardware

I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked for help when a label from a listing laboratory has been removed by the painter/cleaner/installer/meddling kid from the door/frame/armor plate/fire exit hardware. Unfortunately, I’m not much help…I can’t send you a new label to stick on. That’s what makes these Fixed-it Friday photos so sad…

Decoded Quick-Tips: Delayed Egress

Today is the second webinar in the series for access control integrators, so here is my second list of Quick-Tips (the first list can be downloaded here). There have been some changes in the 2015 edition of the IBC, so it’s worth a review…

Concealed Vertical Cable Exit Devices Fill a Church’s Tall Order

When St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church needed a way to secure pairs of 14-foot tall bronze doors in its new church, it found the answer in exit devices with the Von Duprin® Concealed Vertical Cable (CVC) system from Allegion…

FF: Panic Hardware Hacks

Here are two creative fixes for problems with panic hardware…what issues were these Fixed-it Friday “solutions” designed to rectify? (Hint:  There was nothing wrong with the panic hardware.) Ready – GO! Thank you to John Sojka of Allegion, and Norm Carberry whose photo arrived via Jeff Tock of Allegion. You need to login or register […]

WW: Not an Exit (Any More)

This door is in a high school auditorium, and although it no longer seems to be used as an exit (and there are marked exits nearby), it is the first door you see when attempting to exit. Many AHJs will tell you that if it looks like an exit, it has to act like an exit…

Panic Hardware Basics (video)

Allegion has created several videos using the videoscribe format, including these two about panic hardware. Some of the code information in the “101” video is a bit general and I will eventually make a more in-depth video on this topic (I didn’t create the videos below), but what do you think of the format?

FF: Panic Problem

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo was sent in by Rick Turcotte of Horner Commercial Sales. A few questions for you:
a) This is a 4′-wide stairwell door. What’s wrong with this picture?…

Panic Problem Follow-Up

Many of you figured out right away that someone has taken fire exit hardware designed for a 3-foot-wide door and installed it on a 4-foot-wide door. The original mechanism tube has been replaced with one from a 4-foot device, and a filler plate fills the area where the wider touchpad should be…

WW: Armed Forces Museum

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photo was sent to me by Lee Francisco and Jerry Rice of DH Pace. The “Remove for Exit” bar makes this exit non-compliant.

WW: Mullion, you’re doing it wrong.

I realized that what I was looking at was a removable mullion that was not mounted behind the doors as it was designed, but between the doors, leaving visible gaps along the lock edge of each door. The black spacers are needed…

Can fire exit hardware be installed on a non-fire-rated door?

As much as I like black/white-yes/no answers, sometimes it’s not that easy.  This is one of those questions, and it keeps coming back.  Here’s the scenario…I have an exterior aluminum door serving a large Assembly occupancy, with no fire rating required.  I don’t need the ability to dog* the device, and I have fire exit […]

Panic Hardware on Electrical Rooms – Follow-Up

A while back, I wrote an article for Doors & Hardware about panic hardware requirements for rooms housing electrical equipment. Someone asked me recently how the voltage and amperage are determined. Do you add up the voltage or amperage of each piece of equipment and look at the total? Or is it the highest voltage/amperage of any piece of equipment that determines whether the room is over the threshold where panic hardware is required?

FF: Panic Problem? No Problem!

This could definitely be a Wordless Wednesday photo, but I couldn’t wait to share it so here’s an excellent (terrible) Fixed-it Friday photo from Rachel Smith of Karpen Steel. Unbelievable.

FF: Unfixable

Yesterday’s post was not ready in time for the afternoon notification, so in addition to today’s Fixed-it Friday photo, there’s a bonus set of photos from the Bronx Zoo. If you’re reading this on the email notification, you should see the zoo link below. Happy Friday!

School Courtyard Applications

I recently went on a field trip to an elementary school with Greg Thomson (Allegion specwriter) and a group of our specwriter apprentices, and we saw a couple of interesting applications in the courtyard. The courtyard is fully enclosed so a means of egress is required at each end…

Where is Panic Hardware Required by Code? (video)

This is one of the most common questions I receive…do you know when and where panic hardware is required?

WW: Locked After-Hours

What I want to know is…why do some people think it’s ok to use these locks after-hours, when the building is unoccupied? I don’t see anything in the codes to support that, but it seems to be a common belief. Am I missing something?

FF: Double-Egress Pairs

You may have to look at these for a few minutes to get the gist of what’s happening. These are double-egress pairs in a hotel I stayed in recently. Instead of using a double-egress frame so the doors were in the same plane, each door was mounted on the opposite side of a double-rabbet frame…

WW: Not So Fast

Seriously…this Wordless Wednesday photo makes me want to cry. Posted with the permission of Ron Burgess Jr. of the Westport Fire Department (originally posted on the Truck Floor Training Facebook page).

WW: Down at the Mini-Mart

Chris Ostwinkle from DH Pace sent me today’s Wordless Wednesday photo. The bar above the panic limits the degree of opening, which may have contributed to the closer issues. And in case you missed it…that’s a double-cylinder deadbolt above the panic, in addition to the slide bolt. 🙁

Construction Specifier: Understanding Code Requirements for Panic Hardware

This article is currently posted on…The question, “When is panic hardware required by code?” is one that many specifiers continue to struggle with because there isn’t a simple answer to this seemingly simple question…

FF: Bodega Emergency Exit

We still do almost all of our shopping in the small tiendas and larger mercados, but last weekend I saw this door at la bodega. At first glance I saw the sign and thought it had a delayed egress lock…

FF: Unequal Leaf Pair

This is not how I would have specified the hardware for this unequal leaf pair. I think the panic hardware on the small leaf actually results in an opening that is less safe, because the removable mullion makes the small leaf difficult or impossible to use…

FF Follow-Up

Last week’s Fixed-it Friday photo has raised some questions about the best way to handle an unequal pair…a) Do both leaves of a pair require panic hardware?…

Panic Hardware Styles and Types

Whether panic hardware is required by code or specified for increased security and ease of use, there are three basic styles and four types that are commonly used…

WWYD? Multiple Crossbars

Today’s question…is it code-compliant to have panic hardware along with additional stationary horizontal push-bars?

WW: Classic on Ice

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photo, sent to me by Aaron Owens of Allegion, is not an unusual code violation. The location is what leaves me wordless – an NHL hockey arena…

FF: Wrong Hand?

What is happening in this Fixed-it Friday photo sent to me by Daniel Cannon of Allegion? If the lever has to be turned up instead of down because it’s the wrong hand, shouldn’t the sign be on the other side of the door? Or…maybe someone could just make it right?

WW: Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving with friends and family!

WW: Panic Problem

Sometimes I wonder if y’all are creating these Wordless Wednesday and Fixed-it Friday photos just so you can get famous. 🙂

FF: Enter in 15 Seconds

I guess this application would work if there wasn’t a real need for security, but if someone is able to press the touchpad from outside the gate, they will be able to enter the secure area after waiting 15 seconds. It’s a lot of money to spend for security that can be so easily defeated. I’ll give them credit for installing the signage though!

Types of Panic Hardware (video)

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be enough to know about panic hardware for another whiteboard animation video…here’s one that talks about the different types of panics available and why you might choose one over another.

WWYD? Existing Fire Door – New Access Control

This question comes up quite often, so I hope some of you have insight to share. In the words of my old friend Waller Elliott, “Picture this: You have an existing stairwell door (single), with a 90-minute fire rating…”

FF: Day Care Stair

This Fixed-it Friday photo could easily cross over into Wordless Wednesday territory…a fire-rated stairwell door in a day care center, where the installer obviously had an accident that he didn’t think was important enough to address…

FF: Bottom Latch

Oh dear. Must be electric latch retraction. 😀

Decoded: Change to BHMA Standard for Exit Devices (May 2016)

BHMA is required by ANSI to update and review each of the product standards every 5 years, and an important change was made to ANSI/BHMA A156.3 when it was last revised in 2014. The standard now requires cycle tests for Grade 1 exit devices to include preloading…

FF: Egress Deterrent

This photo was taken at a VERY well-known theme park which does a great job with their door-related code-compliance, and is frequently inspected by the local code officials. The black part of this chain looks like it might be a magnet…

FF: Skewed

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo is not an April Fool’s Day joke, the result of a bad camera angle, or an image that has been Photoshopped. The doors are skewed to the left, and it looks like the floor is sloped. The hardware is horizontal, as is the graphic on the wall…

FF: Duct Tape Again

While I was at the BHMA meeting this week, my dinner companions pulled out their phones to compare photos of bad hardware and code problems (yes, this is the fun stuff we do at these meetings). Tim Weller of Allegion had these Fixed-it Friday photos…

WW: Were you raised in a barn?

This Wordless Wednesday photo could have easily been a Fixed-it Friday photo, but since this “fix” is on an occupied Assembly space, it left me Wordless. Thank you to Dave Ilardi of Allegion for sending me photos from the family vacation. 😀

Oldest Panic Hardware Ever?

Deb Henson of DH Consulting sent me these photos of some REALLY old panic hardware. These doors were spotted at a home show, and were originally installed on a YMCA in Laurel, Mississippi, built in 1904. Do they look familiar to anyone?

WW: Cross-Corridor Door

Brian Lane of Allegion sent in the photos below (via Deputy Jeff Tock). This is a cross-corridor door in a health care facility. The wall behind the door MUST be temporary, but wow…

WW: Emergency Exit Only

Anyone see a problem with this Wordless Wednesday photo sent in by Art of Doors?

FF: Custom Dogging Mechanism

From a code perspective, there’s nothing wrong with today’s Fixed-it Friday photo, sent to me by Jim Jennings of Oregon Lock. It’s not a fire door, so mechanical dogging isn’t a problem. It is, however…

WW: Double Egress?

This Wordless Wednesday photo from Scott Straton of Allegion shows not just an exit that requires two operations to release the latch…the operations must be performed simultaneously! NOOOO!!!

FF: Dutch Door Modification

This Wordless Wednesday photo from Paul Shaaf and Kevin Lach of Twin City Hardware is a first for me. And after 7+ years of writing this blog, I don’t say that very often. Enjoy.

FF: Hinge Side Latch

For 6 more days, we’re celebrating the exciting milestones recently achieved by iDigHardware and giving away one $100 Amazon gift card each day!  Visit to find out how to enter today’s drawing, or click here to read about why we’re celebrating! ~~~ Heather Hedrick of Martin Architectural Products sent me today’s Fixed-it Friday photo…of […]

Fire Exit Hardware – Under Fire

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?

WW: High School Gym Exit

These were taken DURING a high school basketball game. Thank you to John Borchmann of Allied Building Products for this week’s Wordless Wednesday photos.

FF: Custom Dogging

I received this photo from Tabor Stride of Commercial Door Company…at least it doesn’t appear to be a fire door!

FF: Two Bars Are Better Than One?

A while back, I posted some photos of a door that had panic hardware along with several stationary push bars. Although the model codes don’t specifically address this application, I don’t think it’s acceptable…

WW: Double Trouble

Dave Carter of Allegion sent me today’s Wordless Wednesday photo – taken in a restaurant. You might be thinking, “Maybe this isn’t a required exit…”

FF: Access Control Gone Wrong

This is the perfect image to reinforce why it’s so important to coordinate the electrified hardware / access control in advance. I have to admit – I learned this lesson the hard way…

WW: Tunnel Vision

Steve Murray from Security Lock Distributors sent me these Wordless Wednesday photos…see any issues?

FF: Padlocked Panics

Leo Lebovits of M&D Door & Hardware sent me these photos from his summer vacation…this is a particularly egregious situation – very scary.

“Do I need panic hardware here?”

This is THE most frequently-asked question that I receive. A specifier, supplier, architect, or end user has a retail, multi-family, office building, or other type of facility, and they want to know whether the exterior, stairwell, or emergency-exit doors need panic hardware…

WW: Screwed

I am going to remain Wordless about these photos, except to say THANK YOU to Brett Africk of CBORD, who not only sent me a batch of photos of an opening he saw during a recent hotel stay, but also went BACK…

QQ: Can panic hardware be installed on a door that doesn’t lead to an exit?

In almost all cases, panic hardware is used on doors which are in the path of egress that eventually leads to the exit discharge. But – is it acceptable to install panic hardware on inswinging doors?

WW: Don’t Panic

The panic hardware isn’t a code violation but it has me scratching my head from a security standpoint. Any theories about why this happened?

WW: Thankful

GR Zechman of Allegion sent me this photo, after trying to exit through this door and stopping to investigate why the door wouldn’t open. As I told GR, this photo literally brought tears to my eyes…

FF: Dogging Clamps

Not to name-drop, but when the executive leadership team starts noticing and sharing oddball hardware applications, it warms my heart. 😀

WW: Instructional Signage

This Wordless Wednesday photo came from Dustin Elam of the Santa Ana Unified School District. Dustin’s not responsible for the instructional signage. 😀

WW: Delayed Egress Mag-Lock

With the recent adoption of NFPA 101-2012 by CMS, the annual inspection of fire door assemblies has become a top priority for many health care facilities…

FF: Scheduled Dogging?

I received this photo from Scott Aikenhead – Tech Support for Allegion Canada. I’ve never seen anything like this and all I can think of is that this contraption is dogging and undogging the panic hardware on a timer…

WW: Double-Bar Security Device

Daniel Cannon of Allegion sent me these Wordless Wednesday photos of the back door of a restaurant. What say you?

WW: STOP! And I really mean it!

Thank you to David R. Defilippo AIA for today’s Wordless Wednesday photo…

FF: Duct Tape

Am I the only one who is curious about whether the tape is to keep the bolt projected for security, or retracted for safety? (I have my suspicions.)

Each of us has experienced the difficulties that often arise in construction, whether it’s specification issues, product problems, or confusion about materials or methods…

WW: Retail Exit Pair

Tim Weller of Allegion sent me this Wordless Wednesday photo. I have nothing to say about it. I’m just going to cry now.

WW: Less Bottom Bolt

I have no words, except “thank you” to Fred Phillips of Interior Supply for this Wordless Wednesday photo…

WWYD? Panic Hardware Corrosion

An architect recently sent me a question and I could use some suggestions from y’all. I know what I would do, but I’d like to hear other ideas…

QQ: Panic Hardware – Touchpad Length

This question has been raised a few times over the years, and it looks like we will have a clarification soon – What is the required length of the touchpad or crossbar for panic hardware and fire exit hardware?

WW: Convention Center

I need to make an avatar of me crying, to include with these posts.

Decoded: Panic Hardware Refresher (May 2017)

It has been a while (6 years!) since I have written about the code requirements that apply to panic hardware in my Decoded column, so it’s time for an update…

WW: Exit Bolt

My husband: “Do other people cry on Wednesdays or is it just you?”

QQ: Can fire exit hardware be installed on a non-fire-rated door?

What if a facility locksmith has fire exit hardware on the shelf and considers installing it on a non-fire-rated door? Or maybe a fire door is no longer needed…

WW: Brussels Hotel

This is not the first time I’ve thought to myself…I hope everyone knows how lucky we are to have (mostly) code-compliant exits in the US…

WW: This door to remain unlocked…

Austin Bammann of Central Indiana Hardware sent me this Wordless Wednesday photo.  You may notice that there is signage above the door stating, “This door needs to remain unlocked during business hours.”  Does this signage make the opening code-compliant?  Why, or why not? You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW Follow-Up

Last week I posted a photo and asked if the signage made the door code-compliant. As many people commented, the short answer is “no.” It’s hard for me to resist a “teachable moment”…

WW: Mall Exit

What do you think? Is this Wordless Wednesday exit visible enough?

FF: Custom Rod Guide

This Fixed-it Friday photo is from Paul Goldense of Goldense Building Products. Paul will be teaching a fire door class with Jeff Batick of Allegion at the NFPA conference next week…

The Story Behind Von Duprin

Many of you have heard this story before, but this video is terrific! See if you can catch the original price of panic hardware in the catalog shown in the video! 🙂

WW: Mall Exit

Why is it that when something goes wrong with the existing hardware, some facilities use the hardware equivalent of a band-aid rather than repairing or replacing the hardware?

WW: Too Short

The most amazing thing about today’s Wordless Wednesday photos is that the panic hardware has been installed this way for YEARS, and on a fast-food restaurant!

Decoded: Securing Parking Garages (September 2017)

Without proper planning, parking garages can present security and life-safety challenges. People who are authorized to use the parking area – or unauthorized people who are able to enter an open parking garage – may attempt to gain access to other floors of the building…

WW: Emergency Exit

I. Have. No. Words.

Fire Door Latching

In order for a fire door assembly to perform as designed and tested, it’s critical for the door to be closed and latched if/when a fire occurs…

FF: Find Another Exit

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photos are from Leo Lebovits at M&D Door & Hardware. Someone had the forethought to remove the exit sign…I wonder if this was approved by the AHJ…

FF: Fork Fix

Jeff Dunham of BEA sent me today’s Fixed-it Friday photos. While this fire door looks pretty good at first glance, a closer look reveals someone’s creative and inexpensive method of keeping the latch retracted…

FF: Doggie Door?

Guess what this is for. And once you figure it out, what do you think about the potential impact on free egress?

WW: School Entrance Security

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photos were sent by Austin Bammann of Central Indiana Hardware. This is NOT the way I would provide security at the entrance to a school. 🙁

Specifying Zombie-Resistant Door Openings (Update)

While ensuring code-compliance, of course! On Halloween, 2013, I wrote a blog post about how to specify zombie-resistant door openings that are also code-compliant.  At the time, this post was one of my most frequently-read pieces, but since 2013 the traffic has increased almost 3-fold!  With so many new readers, I’m positive that some of […]

Guest Post: Electromagnetically locked egress doors: Safe or unsafe? – David Glorioso

I occasionally publish a post from a guest blogger – if you have a post you’d like to share, drop me an email. Today’s post is from David Gloriso of Allegion…

FF: LTR Panics

Well, this is one way to solve the problems with your panic hardware – NOT! Thanks to Charles Anderson for these Fixed-it Friday photos!

Fuzzy Wuzzy

I’m very curious to know what happened here. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Any ideas?

FF: Locks and Chains

Thank you to Brendan Daley for this Fixed-it Friday photo. I could fix this pretty quickly with a set of bolt cutters.

Decoded: Panic Hardware Requirements for Rooms Housing Electrical Equipment (February 2018)

NFPA 70 – National Electrical Code (NEC) has been adopted by most US states, and includes requirements for panic hardware or fire exit hardware on certain rooms housing electrical equipment; the voltage and amperage thresholds that determine which rooms require panic hardware were changed in the 2017 edition of this code.

FF: Pin-Removable Mullion

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo is from Jason Relyea of Allegion…I’ve seen keyed removable mullions, and removable mullions that are secured with screws, but this one must get removed A LOT.

QQ: Airport Jet Bridge Doors

Yesterday someone asked me about hardware requirements for doors serving the jet bridge – the walkway leading from the airport terminal to the door of the plane.

FF: Branching Out

Howard Krutzler of Mr. K’s Lock and Key sent me this photo of a panic hardware modification he found. For the record, panic hardware is UL listed and can not be modified except as allowed by the listings.

FF: Panic Protector

Jon Millsap posted this Fixed-it Friday photo on his Facebook page (Locksmith’s Journal), and he gave me permission to share it here. What do you think? Yea or nay, and why or why not?

FF: Latch Retraction

Where have you seen this type of “fix”? What was the cause and what would have been a better solution (that didn’t involve tape and cardboard)?

QQ: Panic Hardware and Mag-Locks

The 2018 edition of the IBC includes an important clarification regarding doors with panic hardware and electromagnetic locks.

WW: Is this panic hardware?? (no)

This type of lock is not panic hardware. We need to be aware of these claims and prepared to address them when questions arise.

WWYD? Panic Hardware, No Closer?

Have you ever run across this application in the field or been asked to specify or install panic hardware on a door with no closer? What is your response to this request?

FF: Definitely Not an Exit

#Wordless Friday from Gregory Kelly of Allegion…

FF: Foolproof Dogging

Before someone else says it…at least this isn’t a fire door.

WW: What’s wrong with this picture?

See anything odd in these Wordless Wednesday photos from Scott Straton of Allegion?

Mini Doors

What do you think about these mini doors? Any code issues?

Security for Higher Ed

Imagine that you work for a university, you read iDigHardware, and you find out that I’m wandering around your campus. I’m guessing there were some mixed emotions…

FF: Pocket Pivots

If you can prove to me that you were the detailer for this project (or otherwise responsible for the details), I’ll send you something from the iDigHardware prize vault!

WWYD? Library Entrance

Do these doors on a college library meet the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC)? Why or why not? WWYD if you were the AHJ?

FF: Pair Power Transfer

This pair of doors had one of my least favorite applications to begin with, and then access control was added. It’s a challenging modification, and something is missing here.

Fire Door Latching – After the Fire

What happens to fire exit hardware during a fire test, and why doesn’t the force of the hose stream actuate the touchpad and cause the door to unlatch?

FF: Fragile Door

Don’t worry about this fragile door, the “fix” has completely solved the problem. Thank you to Colin Watson of Allegion for today’s Fixed-it Friday photos!

WWYD? Hole, No Strike

On a fire door assembly, is it acceptable to drill/cut a hole in the frame for the latchbolt, and not install the strike?

WW: Special Knowledge and Effort

These doors are an egress problem waiting to happen, and on an assembly occupancy where large numbers of people may need to exit quickly…

QQ: Field Preps for Auxiliary Fire Pins

Can less-bottom-rod (LBR) fire exit hardware with an auxiliary fire pin be installed on an existing fire door? If you have anything to add, please weigh in!

FF: Classic Fix

Fire marshal to restaurant owner: “This door requires panic hardware because the occupant load is over 50 people.” Restaurant owner: “Done!”

Bullpen Doors

In case you haven’t had enough baseball, John Cohrs of Central Indiana Hardware sent me this photo of the bullpen door from last night’s World Series game (nice hardware!).

WW: Von Duprin 44s!

I admit it. I have a thing for old hardware – especially when it’s still functional, and even better when it’s ours!

Etched Labels – UL 305 / UL 10C

On numerous occasions I’ve gotten the call – a painter/cleaner/mischievous kid peeled the UL label off of the panic hardware or fire exit hardware.

FF: Fight Your Way Out

This Fixed-it Friday photo is of an egress door serving a martial arts studio. It’s a good thing the students have special skills they can use in an emergency.

QQ: Field Painted Panic Hardware

Can panic hardware be painted in the field without voiding the label?

FF: Rim Strike

There is actually a strike designed for this purpose, but without job-site creativity I wouldn’t have any posts for Fixed-it Friday.

Enforcement of 5-Pound Operable Force Limit

Heads up – the 5-pound force limit on operable hardware is something everyone should be aware of long before the final inspection by the AHJ.

WW: Take a Closer Look

Sometimes door problems are not evident until you take a closer look. I wonder how many people have walked past these doors and never noticed…

FF: Southeast Asia Airport

A knob, lever, AND a mag-lock? And what’s with the stainless plates? Are they covering old vision lights or do you think they were “original equipment”?

FF: Electric Strike Mismatch

This one is a real head-scratcher. How did this happen, AND what’s the card reader for? #hardwaremysteries

FF: Hard-Wired Exit

Take a look at these egress doors serving a large arena. The struggle for security is real, but we can’t forget about life-safety in the process!

Johnson Security Lock

I need some help tracking down this lock (if it’s still available) for a current project. Have you run across anything like this before?

QQ: Panic Hardware on Residential Occupancies

This question keeps coming up…Is panic hardware required for the residential floors of hotels and apartment buildings?

WW: Wordless…

Jeff Rapp of Wilkus Architects sent me today’s Wordless Wednesday photos. I hope whatever this facility is trying to protect is worth the risk.  🙁

FF: Why is this unacceptable?

I received this photo from Audrey Weiser of DHI – she was looking for some code language that would clearly state that this application is not allowed.  Unfortunately, there isn’t anything specific (that I can think of) in the model codes.

WW: Making a Case for Mullions

Back in 1993, Bill Elliott told me to always specify rim panic hardware with a removable mullion on exterior pairs that require panics. It was good advice.

FF: Panic Privacy

This door – yes, with panic hardware – is on a restroom in Italy.  The non-code-compliant hook modification solves the privacy problem. 😐

See the index for another category:

  • Accessibility
  • Adon Brownell
  • Articles
  • Automatic Operators
  • Back-2-Basics
  • Beautiful Doors
  • Close the Door
  • Code Development
  • Construction Specifier
  • Digging Into Codes
  • Door Closers
  • Doors & Frames
  • Doors Gone Wrong
  • Egress
  • Electrified Hardware
  • Everywhere I Go
  • FDAI
  • Fire Doors
  • Fixed-it Friday
  • Flush Bolts and Coordinators
  • Funky Applications
  • Gasketing & Thresholds
  • Gates
  • General Info
  • Glass
  • Guest Post
  • Health Care
  • Hinges & Pivots
  • Historical
  • Hold-Opens
  • Industry Profiles
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  • Life Safety Digest
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  • Locksmith Ledger
  • Mexico Update
  • My Photos
  • New England Codes
  • News
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  • Panic Hardware
  • Protection Plates
  • Push/Pull
  • Q&A
  • Quick Question
  • Quick-Tips
  • Reader Photos
  • Road Trips
  • School Security
  • Signage
  • Sliding and Folding Doors
  • Smoke
  • Stops
  • Uncategorized
  • Urban Exploration
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  • WHY?
  • Windstorm
  • Wordless Wednesday
  • WWYD?

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