Exit Devices and Los Angeles Fire Codes
Most people in Los Angeles who work in the public and commercial buildings give a little thought to the security or structure of those buildings. As a matter of fact, most individuals aren’t familiar with this term exit device. This is despite the fact that most public and commercial buildings in USA are outfitted with at least one or several exit devices often known as panic bars or crash bars. However, each and every individual who enters a commercial or a public building should have a reasonable expectation when it comes to safety and security inside. And fortunately, the exit devices play a critical role in security and safety of human lives in addition to that of the properties.
Exit devices have become a form of door hardware that helps in keeping the doors locked from outside. However, persons inside a building can exit quickly without any need of unlocking the door. This mechanism makes hands-free exit possible. The word crash bar’ is derived from that ability of opening the door by applying your full body force to the device and then crashing into it.
Exit devices are beneficial for several reasons. First, these devices are safety and security features. Property owners wishing to restrict the ability of public from gaining entry into the building they can select doors that have crash bars to all the nonpublic entrances. When locked, you cannot open the door from outside. In case of an emergency which may include fire, everyone inside the building are able use the doors as an emergency exit by activating crash bars on the inner side of the door. People applied the term exit bars’ to the exit devices since their opening is quite easier during emergencies. Panic bars are beneficial because individuals with limited mobility which include those on wheel chairs and small children – can easily activate them.
The first ever crash bars were introduced in the 1900s and were marketed under Von Duprin brand name. Today, the company is still among the leading manufacturers of the exit devices even though there are many companies that have copied the original design since the first prototype. With the ever changing technology, the manufacturers are now able to use stronger and lighter materials. All this has led to a wider range of higher quality exit devices in the market.
Types of the best exit devices
There are three primary types of exit devices. These include:
This form of exit device has to be mounted on the inner side part of the door.
• Mortise Style exit devices
Just like the standard mortise lock, this device has to be mounted and then mortised – into the door’s cavity.
• Surface concealed exit devices
These devices offer additional latching ability at the top and the bottom of the door. They are suitable when aesthetics play critical part in the door design. These crash bars are also available in different designs and you will often find them in the emergency, utility and service exit doors, cross-bar style is also very popular, also note that the first Duprin exit devices were crossbar type. The other common styles include plate and lever type.
Los Angeles has special codes which dictate how commercial and public buildings’ owners should apply exit devices. Since their invention, crash bars have helped in saving lives. The seemingly insignificant and un-obstructive device has changed the face of most buildings safety and the public security in a significant way.
Choosing an exit devices
• Choosing the Rim Style Exit device
Rim style exit device is quite ideal for the small businesses in the densely packed areas that include strip malls, and business parks. The devices are cost effective and also comply with codes of most buildings.
• Choosing mortise style exit devices
The mortise style exit lock devices are a greater choice for the medium to large size buildings and businesses. Mortise design provides more security and aren’t prone to tampering.
• Choosing the best surface concealed exit devices
The surface concealed exit lock devices are a better choice for the large businesses particularly those that require extra security and aesthetics are important.
Los Angeles Fire Codes on the exit
Each state has a fire codes that public and commercial building owners should observe. In Los Angeles County, all exit routes should meet some design and construction requirements. First, all exit routes should be a permanent part of that workplace. The constructors should ensure that the exit is separated from the fire resistant materials. All materials used in separating exits from the other workplace parts should have at least one hour fire resistance rating if the exit connects only three or fewer stories, but if the exit connects more than four stories, the material should have two hour fire resistance rating.
The opening to an exit should also be limited. The exit is only permitted to feature only the openings that are necessary in allowing access to exit form occupied areas of a workplace or to exit discharge. Openings to an exit should be protected by self closing doors which remain closed or which close automatically in case of an emergency upon sounding of the fire alarm or the employee alarm system. A fire door that includes a frame should be listed or approved by the nationally recognized testing laboratory, getting a fire door is a MUST when getting a fire alarm installation.
The number of exit points should be adequate to allow prompt evacuation of the employees and any other individual occupying the building during emergencies. The exit doors should be practically situated as far as possible from each other so that if fire or smoke blocks one exit route, people can use the other exit route. A single exit door is permitted in case the size of the building, the number of employees or the workplace arrangement is in a way that employees will be able to evacuate safely in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, all exit doors should remain unlocked. Employees should be able to unlock exit doors from the inside at all times without using keys, special knowledge or tools. Devices such as panic bars which locks from the outside are only allowed in the exit discharge doors. The doors which connect exit routes should swing out in the direction of the exit travel if more than 50 people occupy the room or if the room is located in a more hazardous area that contains elements that can rapidly burn or which can explode. The exit routes should support maximum permitted occupants in every floor served. The only certainty here is, if you’re in the area and need exit devices installed, Los Angeles Locksmith Pros should be your first choice.