If you've ever been in a large office building, school or shopping center, chances are you’ve either entered or exited the facility through a door that has been fitted with a panic bar. Also known as “crash bars” or “panic bar doors,” panic bars are a huge asset in the case of an emergency situation.
Specifically, they consist of a spring-loaded metal bar that is installed horizontally across the inside of a door. When this bar is pushed or activated, the door is unlatched, thereby allowing easy, fast access from a facility, as the door opens outward and not inward.
We’ll get to the benefits of panic bars in a minute, but first it’s important to note why they’re necessary in larger facilities. Think about what happens in crowded facilities whenever there’s an emergency – people usually panic and run for the exits. However, having the wrong types of doors installed in a facility can actually do more harm than good in an emergency situation.
For example, if you have a hoard of people running for the exit and the person at the front of the group needs to abruptly stop to pull a door open or twist a doorknob, there’s bound to be not only a great reduction in the speed of evacuation, but also the potential for falls, injury and crashes as a potential logjam at the exits form and the evacuation becomes a disorganized mess.
Panic bars actually came to be based on several tragedies in history, notably an 1883 incident at Victoria Hall in England, when 180 children died because they were unable to exit the facility properly. Domestically, over 600 people died in a fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago in 1903 when they were unable to exit in a prompt manner.
In summary, panic bar is safety and effective, and important for fire doors.
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