That’s what I always thought.
(To be honest, I probably never thought about panic or exit bars before working here, but I definitely thought they were the same thing.)
Well, I have some news.
There’s actually a difference and I’m here to let the world* know.
An exit bar (they also go by exit hardware and exit devices, lest you not get confused) is a locking device that runs across the inside of a door. When an occupant pushes the bar, the door latch is released.
If you’re in a building that is qualified as an E (education building), H (high hazard), or A (assembly) rating from the International Building Code or has an occupant load of 50 or more, then you must have some form of exit device. These devices are not required to meet Underwriters Laboratory standards, unlike panic bars.
Exit bars consist of a spring-loaded metal bar that is fixed horizontally to the inside of an egress-opening door. When someone depresses the lever, it activates the mechanism and unlatches the door. This allows occupants to exit quickly from the building with no delay in exit. Crowds can be a death sentence in certain situations if people are piling up at the door. Exit bars are designed to avoid that.
Which actually leads me to my next point…
While panic bars are a type of exit bar, they have a few more rules to follow when it comes to UL Code. There are certain building where panic bars are required.
There are primarily two different types of panic bars – standard panic bars, which simply needs to meet UL 305 panic hardware test standard. This says the device must unlatch when a maximum of 15 pounds of force is applied. Then there is fire exit hardware. This is a type of panic hardware that also is required to meet UL 10C, which is the positive pressure fire test standard for door assemblies.
Are you curious as to whether your door should have an exit bar or a panic bar? If so, we’d love to help you out! Give us a call today!
*This little group of people who come here for information on doors and locks
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