Panic Exit Devices

Panic Exit Devices, often also referred to simply as exit devices provide an easy egress to avoid a stampede and ensure that a room is not accidentally barred to exit.

Park Avenue Locks will ensure your building or commercial setting passes inspection – and panic exit devices are key pieces of panic hardware that some of your doors will need to be fitted with!

Exit devices are now required by code for doorways where the occupancy of the room exceeds fifty people or if the room is classified as High-Hazard.  An exit device is a life-saving mechanism that will allow for a fast and easy evacuation in case of fire or other emergencies.  

Many of our exit devices can also be fire certified or windstorm certified.  This adds an extra layer of safety, and additional standards are implemented for the device to qualify.

Our knowledgeable staff of hardware experts can help with any questions or concerns you have.

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All about Panic Exit Devices

Exit devices are panic hardware that are affixed to doors to provide an immediate opening in the event of an emergency.  An exit device must be easy to use. Generally, it is operated by a one-touch action on a spring-loaded metal bar to save time. 

There are different types of panic exit devices.  We will outline them here so that you can be well informed about their installation and function.

Types of Panic Devices:

1. Rim Exit Devices

In rim panic exit devices the latch protrudes from the actual device as opposed to the door.  They are great to affix as an addition to an existing door when you wish to avoid altering the construction of the doorframe.   

These devices can be used on single or double doors.

For single doors: the strike plate can be installed on the door frame.

For double doors:  the strike plate can be installed on the mullion, the dividing column between them, or the inactive door if there is no mullion.

2. Mortise Exit Devices

Mortise lock exit devices incorporate a mortise lock in the mechanism. In mortise exit devices, a mortise, or cavity, is required to be cut into the edge of the door for the lock to be situated in.

They can be used on single doors as well as on double doors, just like a rim panic device.  The strike plate can be mounted on the door frame, mullion, or the inactive door in a pair of doors.

3. Vertical Rod Exit Devices

A vertical rod exit device contains a latch control rod that is mounted vertically on the door, hence its name. A vertical rod exit device is available with a top and bottom rod or top rod only. The latch strike can be installed on the top of the door frame and/or floor.

There are two configurations for vertical rod exit devices:

A. Surface Vertical Rod Exit Devices:

With a surface vertical rod device, the vertical rod will be visible since it is attached to the surface of the door. This is an economical choice for existing doors, as well as the only option for installation on solid doors. 

B. Concealed Vertical Rod Exit Devices:

With a concealed vertical rod device, the top and bottom rods are installed within the door. This results in a cleaner look since the hardware is not visible, and it may offer an additional security factor since the rods cannot be tampered with.

This option is generally used in new doors that are constructed to accommodate the vertical rod within the door’s interior.


Exit Device Designs: 

Exit Devices also come with different bar designs.  Although the purpose and function are similar, they differ in appearance and popularity.  All modern forms of exit devices are sometimes named crash-bar devices since they are designed to open even when someone just crashes into the bar! 

The two most common exit device bar forms are cross-bar and touch bar.

Touch Bar Exit Devices:
This is the most popular panic device bar design.  A metal bar projects out of the exit device that will unlatch the door when pressed upon.

Cross Bar Exit Devices: 
This form of exit device can be recognized by the long bar that extends from the hinge to the latch case.  Although this is an older version of a panic bar, it enables the bar to be depressed anywhere on the door, unlike the touch bar, and it is, therefore, a superb feature to incorporate in heavily-trafficked areas.

Your exit device should be paired with an outside trim to enable your door to be accessed as an entranceway.  Shop our exit trims here for quality door hardware that will suit your door’s placement as an outside door, stairwell door, or other.

Do you want to alarm your door?  Sometimes you may want to deter usage of a specific exit and designate it as an emergency exit only.  Consider adding an alarm that will go off when the bar is being engaged. Click here to see our exit devices that can be alarm operated.