Delayed Egress– The Dos and Don’ts

Excerpts from an Expert > Delayed Egress– The Dos and Don’ts

delayed egressDelayed egress is something that many Facilities Managers and Loss Prevention Managers want to install to deter theft; however, it’s not always safe (or allowed).  Understanding the dos and don’ts of delayed egress can be confusing, so let’s walk through it.

What Is Delayed Egress?

Delayed egress is a locking feature that delays the opening of a door.  If a door has delayed egress exit hardware installed, when someone engages the exit bar an alarm will continuously sound.  The door will not unlock for a specified period of time, which is typically 15 seconds.

This is an ideal solution when you are trying to secure product.  Believe it or not, this is a very popular product feature for back-of-house doors in restaurants.  A lot of restaurants have issues with employees stealing food, and delayed egress exit hardware does a great job of reducing food theft.

What Are The Requirements for Delayed Egress?

Due to the potential hazards involved with delayed egress hardware, there are quite a few requirements for doors using this type of hardware.   For more details on delayed egress requirements, check out our post titled Delayed Egress: Deciphering The Code Requirements.

There are two specific requirements I want to draw your attention to today.

First, it is important to note that if you do have delayed egress hardware installed, it has to be tied into your fire system.  When the emergency fire system is activated, the delayed egress feature is overridden, allowing the door to have immediate free egress.

Also, any door that has delayed egress hardware installed must have a sign that is located above and within twelve inches of the hardware stating, “Push Until Alarm Sounds.  Door Can Be Opened In 15 (30) Seconds.”

When Is Delayed Egress Allowed?

This is a tricky question.  Local code will determine if it’s allowed in your jurisdiction.

Ultimately, whether or not you can use delayed egress in your facility will be determined by your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).  Note that I said local; if you have locations in different regions, some AHJs may allow it and some may not.

When Is Delayed Egress Prohibited?

In general, delayed egress is not allowed on main egress points where the majority of your occupants will be.  It is also prohibited anytime your local AHJ deems it unsafe, or if it is not tied into the fire system.


If you have any questions on delayed egress and whether or not it makes sense for your facility, let us know.  We’re happy to help!

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