What Is A Panic Bar?
A panic bar is a life safety mechanical locking device with a push pad, that allows pedestrians to safely exit a building. The device is horizontal and spans the entire width of the exit door. A spring loaded locking chassis is located inside of the panic bar, allowing the latch of the panic bar to secure against a surface mounted strike on the door frame. When pedestrians need to exit the building, they can simply press on the push pad which will unlatch the door from the frame, allowing he or she to exit the building.
Push To Exit Operation
Panic Bars were originally created as a solution to crowded buildings that required a fast way to exit. Traditional lever handles took too much time to operate in an emergency event with large crowds, sometimes resulting in trampling and crushing of pedestrians at the doorway who were unable to turn the lever handle quickly enough. Similarly, many commercial doors could not just use a push plate, since the door is an exterior exit door and required some means of locking it when the business was closed at night. The solution is the panic bar. The easy to use "push to exit" function was simple and fast for pedestrians to operate in emergency situations. The long horizontal push bar is easily identifiable and allows for quick action, reducing the danger of trampling or crowd crushing.
What Is A Dogging Panic Bar?
When it comes to panic bars, the term dogging is often used. Dogging is the ability to keep the panic bar in an unlatched state such that the door is unlocked and can swing out freely, rather than in a latched state. This is achieved with a hex or allen key. On a panic bar with the dogging capability, there will be an allen key hole on either the push pad itself, or on the rail of the panic bar. The allen key hole is access to a set screw in side of the panic bar. To "dog" the panic bar down, the user would fully press in the push pad, then insert the allen key into the hole and turn the set screw. The allen key can then be removed. The set screw will keep the push pad of the panic bar fully pressed in so that the door can now freely swing and is no longer latched or secure.
Purpose For Dogging
There are many reasons as to why dogging is needed on a panic bar.
Business Hour Operation
In many buildings panic bars are outfitted on commercial doors used as both an exit and entrance into the building. During business hours, these doors need to be unlocked to allow customers and employees access. To do so, the exit device is dogged down in the morning, allowing the door to be unlocked. In the evening during closing hours, the exit device un-dogged, so that the door is now locked and secured.
Automatic Door Opener Operation
Many commercial doors with panic bars are also outfitted with automatic door openers to allow easier accessibility for their customers or employees. Automatic door openers require the commercial door to be unlatched or unlocked in order for it to push the door open. Accessories like rim electric strikes are available but can be costly. Many building owners choose to simply "dog" down the panic bar in the early morning when the business is open, and then turn the automatic door opener on. At night when the business is closed, he or she simply turns the automatic door opener off, and then un-dogs the panic bars, so the door is now locked and secure.
Do All Panic Bars Have Dogging?
No not all panic bars have the dogging feature. Fire rated panic bars do not have the dogging capability because NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) requires that fire doors must latch closed, in order for the door to reduce the spread of fire. If the panic bar was dogged down, then the door would be free swinging allowing a fire to spread.
Panic Bar Handing
Panic bars are always installed on Right Hand Reverse or Left Hand Reverse outswing commercial doors and never inswing doors such as Right Hand or Left Hand configurations. This is because they function as push to exit door openers and in commercial buildings exit doors always swing out.
Panic Bar On Commercial Glass Doors
Practically all businesses have commercial glass doors as their entrance or exit doors. These aluminum doors are often narrow stile commercial doors, requiring specially designed panic bars to fit. Below is a list of commercial glass door manufacturers that we can supply replacement and compatible panic bars for:
Panic Bars On Hollow Metal Doors
All commercial buildings have an exit door at the very back of the building. This door is generally a commercial steel security door. As an exit door it is required to have a panic bar on it for emergency egress. Below is a list of commercial steel door manufacturers that we can supply replacement and compatible panic bars for:
Panic Bars On Commercial Solid Core Wood Doors
Many older commercial buildings have exit doors that are solid core wood. Additionally, larger buildings may have hallways or corridor exit doors that are solid core wood. These door applications use panic bars to provide safety for pedestrians. Below is a list of commercial wood door manufacturers that we can supply replacement and compatible panic bars for:
Types Of Panic Bars
Panic bars come in a variety of model types for both single doors and double doors. For single door applications, the most popular panic bar type is the rim exit device. While for double doors, the most popular panic bar type is the surface vertical rod panic bar.
Rim Panic Bar
The rim panic bar is a type of panic bar device that is surface mounted to the interior push side of the door. A surface mounted rim strike is mounted on the door frame, so that the panic bar can latch securely against it. Rim panic bars are considered a one point lock system, since there is only one latch point. Rim panic bars are primarily used on single door applications.
Surface Vertical Rod Panic Bar
A surface vertical rod panic bar is a type of panic bar device that is surface mounted to the interior push side of the door and has an upper vertical rod with latch and a bottom vertical rod with latch. The vertical rods are surface mounted to the door and attached with vertical rod guides. A surface mounted strike is mounted to the top of the door frame and a bottom strike is installed on the door threshold or floor. Vertical Rod panic bars are considered a 2 point lock system since the panic bar has two latch points, one at the top and one at the bottom. Surface vertical rod panic bars are primarily used on double door applications.
Less Bottom Rod (LBR) Surface Vertical Rod Panic Bar
An LBR surface vertical rod panic bar is a surface vertical rod panic bar less the bottom rod. Since there is only one point of latching, and LBR surface vertical rod panic bar is considered a one point lock system.
Concealed Vertical Rod Panic Bar
A concealed vertical rod panic bar is a type of panic bar device that is surface mounted to the door, but the top and vertical locking rods are concealed inside of the door. There is a latch mechanism at the end of the concealed upper rod, as well as the concealed bottom rod. A top strike is installed in the top head of the door frame, while a bottom strike is installed on the threshold or floor. When a concealed vertical rod panic bar latches, the upper rod latch secures into the top door frame strike, while the bottom vertical rod latch secures into the threshold or floor strike. Concealed vertical rod panic bars are primarily used on double door applications. They are considered a 2 point lock system since they have two latch points. Because the vertical rods are concealed, concealed vertical rod panic bars do require a more lengthy installation process. As a result concealed vertical rod panic bars are typically only installed from the commercial door manufacturer at the time the door is being constructed. If a vertical rod panic bar is needed on a commercial door that is already instructed, then a vertical rod panic bar system is used.
Less Bottom Rod (LBR) Concealed Vertical Rod Panic Bar
An LBR concealed vertical rod panic bar is a concealed vertical rod panic bar less the bottom rod. Since there is only one point of latching, and LBR concealed vertical rod panic bar is considered a one point lock system.
Mortise Lock Panic Bar
A mortise lock panic bar is a panic bar with a mortise lock chassis. The panic bar itself is surface mounted to the door, however the locking chassis is mortised into the door and concealed. The latch is identical to the traditional deadlatch of a mortise lock. Mortise lock panic bars are considered a one point lock system since there is only one latch point. Mortise lock panic bars provide great security, however the complexity of the mortised lock chassis makes the panic bar less popular than rim panic bar device. Mortise lock panic bars can be used on single doors or the active leaf of a double door.
Emergency Exit Panic Bars With Alarm
Due to building codes, some exit doors are required to be emergency exits. For these doors a panic bar with an alarm is used, so that if a pedestrian exits it will sound an audible horn, and alerting personnel of an unauthorized exit. A decal is included on the panic bar that says "Emergency Exit Only Alarm Will Sound". Emergency exit panic bars with alarms are commonly found in commercial retail stores and grocery stores.
Panic Bar Outside Trim
Panic bars can use a variety of outside trim to allow a pedestrian to unlock the panic bar from the outside of the door.