As most of you know, I love to see creativity and innovation within the door and hardware industry, especially if it helps to increase fire prevention and life safety. I received a video this morning, introducing a product that has been developed by two retired FDNY firefighters. It is a spring hinge with a fusible link, so in normal operation it acts as a typical hinge but when exposed to heat it closes the door...
This cylinder is really cool...a curved keyway and a flexible key. I didn't say it was practical. If you're curious about how it works, you can check out the patent here...
This video is pretty amazing. Swallows nesting in a university parking garage could have been locked in when doors were added to convert the garage to the campus bike center. Is this an example of the swallows' intelligence, or dumb luck?...
It appears this massive mishap could have been a lot worse than it turned out to be, but it is nevertheless a scary incident that left many people hurt and hundreds in harm's way. That may prompt the MGM Grand to reevaluate its current design and make some tweaks to avoid similar incidents in the future...
To celebrate 5 years of iDigHardware, don't forget to send me some photos in exchange for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!
This is not door-related, but consider it a public service announcement that shows how much I care about you. I don't know how common this is, but I did confirm that a 9-volt battery can be used to start a fire and improper storage has led to several residential fires. If we proactively replace our smoke detector batteries and store the partially-used batteries until they are recycled, we need to take precautions to avoid the situation in the video below.
Almost exactly 7 years ago I began working on one of my most beautiful and challenging projects - the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I remember the start date because I had just returned from leave after having my youngest daughter. The architect contacted me many months prior and asked me to act as the hardware consultant on the project, and to be honest, I didn't want to do it. I already had several "high-maintenance" projects on my desk, and with most of those fancy, prestigious projects, you also get frustrations and headaches. You get architects with door-related ideas that have never been attempted...gigantic doors, openings that are invisible (codes be damned), doors made out of unusual materials, sliders that slide with the touch of a finger and no sound, and security applications that require variances from the local AHJ. It was during one of those projects that I first stated, "Sorry, I left my magic wand in the car." On another I earned the nickname "the anti-fairy godmother" because I told an architect that the doors in his interior elevation would not look the way he had drawn them because of code-drive hardware requirements.
The fact that this door swings in instead of out seems to confuse the burglar enough that he can't figure out how to get in. However, I would NOT recommend inswinging doors as a security measure! Considering that people generally try to exit the way they came in, I think this opening could be an egress problem unless it is serving a very small bar. What do you think?
While this test report was not heavy on door-related data, I thought some of you would enjoy reading about this groundbreaking study which looked at how a test building was affected by several simulated earthquakes, and then how the damaged building's fire safety systems performed in a series of fire tests. I found the video below fascinating:
Paul Timm, from the independent school security consulting firm, Reta Security, appears on the PBS special The Path to Violence, which premiers tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 20th). Check your local listings to find out when to watch.
For the last 8 years, I have coordinated a holiday gift drive along with my coworkers, family, and friends for the residents of our local family shelter and other families in need. This year we provided gifts for 75 kids and parents! When I went to the shelter with a load to drop off, I saw the sign below. I asked the director if they had a close call and she said, with a very grave look in her eyes, "more than one."
Although the schools in Providence, Rhode Island, are supposed to be inspected by code officials annually, some had not been inspected for 10 YEARS. I wonder how many public schools are in the same boat?
I love this video. And if you were getting ready to say it's "off topic," the first word in the first frame is Security, and I saw several doors while watching it. :D AND...I'm pretty sure I spotted some footage from Morocco, which coincidentally is where I'm headed on this year's summer road trip with my family. Yes, Morocco, and no, I haven't finally lost the rest of my mind. I've mentioned before that my husband is originally from Morocco, and that my mother-in-law passed away last year. We'll be spending some time there this summer to get her estate squared away, and of course, look for some interesting doors. Maybe I'll even see if I can hunt down a Moroccan locksmith or hardware supplier. That would be pretty cool, right?
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 the weight of a fire truck, but I've seen some herds of kids run out of school at the end of the day that are almost as tough.
December 8th, 2011, was the 50-year anniversary of a fire at Hartford Hospital which caused the death of 16 patients, staff, and visitors, and resulted in many important changes to code requirements for hospital construction. Connecticut Public Television has just released a video about the tragedy and the resulting code changes. Other than the statement "all patient room doors must have positively latching hinges," it's a great piece.
A couple of weeks ago I told you about the significance of August 1st - it's my birthday (big deal), and also the day that the features of the LCN 4040XP are incorporated into the standard 4040 closer (BIG DEAL!). Every 4040 closer ordered from today forward will be shipped as a 4040XP - with the larger and stronger pinion, bigger bearings, and stronger teeth geometry. If you have questions about the changes, check out this FAQ document.
I've obviously been slacking because this video was posted a month ago. It's a follow-up to a report about the flawed fire safety system at the Staples Center, including problems with their fire doors. Here's a link, in case you missed it too.
I swear, I didn't send him the camo underwear. :-)
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 wonder who came up with this idea.
It's not often you find the variety of egress-related news stories that I've seen lately, so I compiled a few here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Today I had the pleasure of visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. My trusty guide for the tour was Rachel Smith of Karpen Steel, who suggested the Biltmore as a stop on my road trip and then arranged for the visit to the estate.
Today is the 39th anniversary of the fire at the Hotel Vendome, in which 9 firefighters lost their lives when the building unexpectedly collapsed during mop-up operations. Stephanie Schorow, author of 4 books about Boston, spoke about the Hotel Vendome fire, the Cocoanut Grove fire, and the Great Boston Fire of 1872 in this video made in conjunction with the NFPA. There was also an article in the May/June 2011 issue of the NFPA Journal - "The Boston Fire Trail - A walkable guide to the city's fire and disaster history."
OMG - I LOVE this video. Maybe I'll get inspired to do a series of "Hardware Gal" videos. :-)
How many more fires is it going to take before people understand that closed and latched doors save lives, code-compliant fire doors are self-closing and self-latching, and annual fire door inspections will make sure they stay that way?
Feeling the Heat: Fire Doors - Building.co.uk
Here's the second batch of reader photos. My emailbox is empty now. Not.
I got this text message this morning, and alas, I'm not at the ISC West show in Las Vegas. If you're not at the show either, you can still visit the Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies booth there.
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 fail transcends the language barrier. Watch closely and stick with it for the whole 66 seconds.
The other day I posted some photos of a fire door that had done its job and prevented a fire from spreading. Several of you emailed me about the photos, because they're SUCH a great illustration of what a fire door is for. It's easy to imagine what would have happened if it was propped open. Well, this morning I received even more photos of the same building (the Robert Moses Nature Center), from Bill Johnson of the Door Security and Safety Foundation, and this afternoon I received a link to a news article from Jerry Heppes of the Door & Hardware Institute. Thanks guys!!
I've been doing some research for my FDAI presentation, looking for specific examples of how the inspection of fire doors and correction of deficiencies can have a direct impact on life safety as well as the protection of property. It's not very often that you see fire doors in the news, but these two recent examples showed up over the holidays:
Ellen DeGeneres cracks me up - even though she never talks about doors and I never have time to watch her show any more. Recently, Ellen and I became Facebook friends, so I get random status updates from her show which often include videos. I happened upon a video of when she sent one of her writers through a haunted house, and about 25 seconds into the video, I noticed a set of emergency exit doors (which have LCN 4110s and Von Duprin 99s if I'm not mistaken). Yes, I do realize that I'm a weirdo, but you should know that by now.
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 the door open. You can always exit by pushing the touchpad. I have used the QEL device on several high-profile spaces where noise is an issue. I recently specified them for auditoriums at the United States Institute of Peace and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where the latches are held retracted while the auditorium is unlocked. As you can see in the video below, the touchpads are also held in while the latches are retracted so there will be no sound associated with exiting while the doors are unlocked.
It's not very often that I see a news report about egress doors that don't meet code requirements. Considering the prevalence of the problem, it's amazing to me that it doesn't get more publicity, but then again, I'm a little more focused on the problem than the average citizen.
I think these are about the tiniest closers I've ever seen. One was obviously not enough to get the bathroom door closed, so another one was added. The door still wouldn't close, so the closer was flipped around and mounted the opposite way. The door STILL wouldn't close, AND the sound of the closers was horrendous! (video evidence below)
I'm working on the next post about smoke but this has been an extremely busy week.
I'm not a big fan of glass doors because the options for hardware are so limited, but they do supply some interesting fail moments. You'd think that after multiple people ran into the same sidelite, they'd stick on some fake snowflakes or something...
The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on March 25th, 1911, claimed 146 lives - mostly young immigrant women. Building owners locked the exit doors to keep the workers in and the union organizers out, so when a fire broke out on the 8th floor it was impossible for some of the 600+ workers on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors to escape. The fire escape was not sufficient to hold the number of fleeing occupants, and collapsed. Firefighters' ladders were several stories too short, and water from the fire hoses could not reach the upper floors of the building. Sixty workers jumped to their deaths.
This building in Calcutta was involved in a fatal fire today, with 24 deaths reported so far and additional people still missing. The top floors of the building had been added illegally, but the building owner paid a fine and all was forgiven. The fire department reportedly had never inspected the building.
I went to see an architect on Friday, for what I thought would be a 2-hour meeting to discuss the security requirements for a new project. 3 1/2 hours later (time flies when you're talking about hardware!) I emerged to the sunlight (and the parking ticket), after literally resorting to cheerleading to get the architect through one more floor of the building (Her: "Lori, my brain hurts." Me: "Come on! You can do it!!").
Last Tuesday night, approximately fifty people were left homeless by a fire at the Parkside West Apartments in New London, Connecticut, which apparently began on a stove in a 3rd-story apartment. One of the newspaper accounts of the fire investigation reported that the fire marshal stated "in the third-floor apartment where the fire is believed to have started, a weatherstrip prevented the door from closing, allowing smoke to spread."
This is the 2nd post in a series about fire doors and the results of a recent survey.
It seems like I should know all about myself now that I'm in my (early!) 40's, but I recently learned that the way I learn best is from a live demonstration or a video. As soon as I start trying to read about something, my mind is off in a hundred directions, but put the same information in a video and I'm right there.
Back in the day, before my restaurant choices were based on whether the establishment offered crayons, chicken nuggets, and a giant mouse or talking tree, I used to frequent a local cantina. The "naked" door closer on their ladies room door drove me nuts, so one night I showed up with a closer cover, screws, and a set of hex wrenches. As you can probably imagine, they looked at me like I had two heads and made me hand everything over to the bartender.
One of the disadvantages of a shear lock is the noise associated with locking/unlocking. This post has a video of the operation of a shear lock.
The other day, one of my friends asked me about the new Schlage LiNK, which is a remote access system that connects you to your home from anywhere via cell phone or computer. With the monthly subscription and Z-Wave enabled products, you can remotely control and monitor your door locks, check on your pets with live video, turn lights on and off, and control and monitor your home's heating and cooling system.
Yesterday we decided that there was still too much to see so we can't go home just yet. We haven't run out of clean clothes, so why not? We spent the entire day taking in the sights of Colonial Williamsburg, without a thrill ride or water slide in sight. I saw so many interesting doors that I made them into a short slide show for your viewing pleasure:
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!