LAX Egress

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.

By |2013-02-09T01:14:16-05:00July 20th, 2010|Means of Egress, Videos|0 Comments

“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 explaining the difference to his clients.  So Michael, this is for you, and everyone out there who has been wondering how to choose between the two.

By |2013-02-09T01:11:45-05:00July 2nd, 2010|Electrified Hardware, Panic Hardware|6 Comments

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 school.  They still seem to be working pretty well though.

Boston Back Bay Fire

There was a 9-alarm fire last week in Boston, in a 10-story condominium building.  Several residents had to be rescued by firefighters, because they didn't evacuate the building immediately when the alarm sounded.  One resident, who waited 10-15 minutes (by her estimate) to leave, found a stairwell full of smoke and a locked door to the roof.  She was found at the roof door in full cardiac arrest with no pulse and no respirations.  She was revived by firefighters and she survived.  She's extremely lucky.

By |2021-11-07T22:17:41-05:00April 12th, 2010|FDAI, Fire Doors|0 Comments

Hotel Meeting Rooms

It's a little scary how excited I get when I find photos in my inbox...mostly because it makes the subsequent post pretty easy and I don't have to try to make the doors I see during my own wanderings meaningful.  I received these photos from one of our esteemed trainers, who travels around teaching people about hardware.  Any hardware people who have attended a class in a hotel meeting room can vouch for the scary hardware applications you can find there.

Triangle Factory Fire – 99 Years Ago Today

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.

By |2021-06-07T14:56:08-04:00March 25th, 2010|FDAI, Fire Doors, Historical, Videos|0 Comments

Costa Rican Egress / Fire Protection

The hotel with the treacherous handicap ramp (see previous post) was actually a very nice little hotel, but it had some other code-related issues.  I think all of the issues stem from the lack of stringent building codes in Costa Rica, but they're still a little scary for travelers who happen to be door hardware consultants.

By |2024-06-06T11:59:17-04:00February 10th, 2010|Costa Rica, Fire Doors, Means of Egress|2 Comments

Not a Door

The cool thing about writing a blog from my little office within a very large company is that I write about whatever strikes me at the time. Unlike many corporate bloggers, I am not told what to write about and my posts aren't approved before they're posted. I'm grateful that I have that freedom, because I use this forum to teach people about doors and hardware, and my favorite topic - codes related to openings. At the same time, I am constantly learning by answering questions, looking at applications, and researching new requirements.

By |2014-10-08T09:18:31-04:00November 30th, 2009|Funky Applications, Reader Photos|5 Comments

Not an Exit

This sign is on the OUTSIDE of a door on the gas station I frequent.  I can't think of any reason it would be important to know that nobody will be exiting out of that door (UPDATE:  Check out the comments for some interesting insight from a fire marshal.), but it did make me wonder when a sign like this IS required.

By |2012-01-27T22:08:06-05:00November 24th, 2009|Means of Egress|4 Comments

Panic Hardware on Balanced Doors

Last week, someone asked me about code requirements related to panic hardware on balanced doors.  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, the codes used most often in the U.S. do contain applicable requirements.

By |2019-08-06T08:48:42-04:00October 11th, 2009|Means of Egress, Panic Hardware, Reader Photos|9 Comments

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 dimes, but I've said it lots of times and sometimes people still have a hard time remembering it.  Here's a true story that will help.

By |2014-04-26T19:26:59-04:00October 8th, 2009|Means of Egress, Panic Hardware|2 Comments

Elevator Lobby Egress

Fair warning...this is going to be one of those posts that makes your eyes glaze over, especially if you haven't had your coffee yet.  But since I've seen several people come to my site looking for this information and leaving without it, I need to post about it before the next person comes looking.  I'll try to make it as concise as possible, and remember, the red italicized paragraphs are the code excerpts so you probably don't need to read those unless you're really digging into this issue.

By |2013-03-14T18:06:07-04:00October 5th, 2009|Electrified Hardware, Means of Egress|1 Comment

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, and the most interesting hardware I found was in the President's One train car, which was built in 1916.  There were double-acting spring hinges, a sliding door on a curved track, and some double-acting deadlatches - all still in working condition.  Pretty cool.  Click any of the thumbnails below if you're interested in seeing larger views of the photos.

Roof Doors

The locking requirements for roof doors are a bit of a gray area, due to the varied preferences of local code officials. In most cases, the roof door can be locked on the interior side, preventing access to the roof. It is very rare (except in movies) that the egress plan for the building includes going to the roof for helicopter access. If the roof was part of the egress path, the roof would have to be maintained as an egress route, snow removed, etc.

By |2012-01-27T22:10:39-05:00April 13th, 2009|Locks & Keys, Means of Egress|5 Comments

Max Headroom

Remember him?  I guess I'm dating myself if I admit that I do since he made his debut in the mid- to late-80's, right around the time that Bill Lawliss, John Gant, and I all graduated with degrees in Architecture from Vermont Technical College.  Just think where we could be now if we took those drafting jobs we were offered instead of choosing the glamorous field of door hardware.

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 an Adams Rite deadlatch with a dark bronze lever. The lever was completely invisible and people started to gather behind me. If it had been a panic situation there could have been tragic consequences.

Time-Out Lock

One of our customers sent me this photo last week.  It was found on a psychiatric facility and to operate it, a staff member must be present and holding the bolt projected via the lever.  I did my best to track down a manufacturer with no luck.  It's possible that it was made in a machine shop or that it is no longer available, but my first thought when I saw it was that I need to buy 3 for my kids' rooms and then find 3 suckers to stand there holding the bolts projected.  ;-)

By |2012-01-27T22:10:41-05:00February 23rd, 2009|Funky Applications, Locks & Keys, Means of Egress|2 Comments

Panic Hardware on Electrical Rooms

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, pressure plates, or other devices that are normally latched but open under simple pressure."  According to an engineer I spoke with at the National Fire Protection Association, the releasing device could be a hospital latch or paddle-type release, but the fact that the words "panic bar" are used in the Code has prompted many code officials to require panic hardware.

By |2022-06-27T00:19:29-04:00February 23rd, 2009|Means of Egress, Panic Hardware|8 Comments
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