A panic bar is another term for a crash bar, panic exit device or push bar. This is actually a type of door that opens by pushing a bar that is part of the door itself. This is actually a spring-loaded metal bar, horizontally fixed to the door that simply needs to be pressed in order to open the door for quick exits from a building. Originally intended to prevent crowd crushing in emergencies, they are now common in commercial buildings.
Safety Codes and the Panic Bar
For decades now, most countries had building codes requiring public buildings to have a certain number of fire and emergency exits. Panic bars are in all these doors because they are proven to be the safest exit option in the event of mass evacuation during emergencies. Fast exits are much easier with the panic bar, as they are often an easy pass-through point without causing a clog in traffic. Considering human stampedes of the past, these doors prevent falls, crushing and other injuries that can occur in these crowds.
These stampedes would normally occur in larger rooms where a huge quantity of occupants may be together at one time. Possibly assembly halls or other large rooms can be considered hazardous because of these potential stampedes, or other areas may be considered hazardous by their layout or architecture, so the building code will most likely always make the final decision on the required panic bar. Especially with the International Building Code, there is the requirement of the panic bar for certain healthcare, education and assembly spaces based upon the number of people that may ever have to exit through a certain door.
Fire standards now require that commercial buildings be fit with panic bars in rooms that hold mass occupancy and may have a need for quick evacuation. It varies on the building or room, but these doors may sometimes only be intended for emergency exits and will have alarms that go off when they are opened at the wrong times. This all depends on the settings of the building and the type of door that has been installed. It could be the door that was chosen basically for simpler use inside the building.
The Path to Safety
OSHA requires a continuous and unblocked path of exit to a place of safety, provided by panic bars. For exterior doors, panic bars are available in several styles, often with alarms to prevent people from exiting to steal items or avoid paying a tab. They are often in commercial buildings like restaurants, bars, storefronts and other public places like schools and city buildings. With all different styles, the operation is basically the same; push on the panic bar the door opens. Panic exit door bars are available at several prices with different features from different manufacturers, so your sales associate is likely the best to help with the decision on the proper panic bar for your space.
Continue reading here: Panic Bars: Importance in Commercial Properties
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