THE DEBATE BETWEEN SECURITY AND FIRE SAFETY ACCESS CONTROL DOORS

Over the years, secured locking solutions have been needed to keep the general public safe. An entryway system that electronically or mechanically restricts access to certain personnel can be vital for multiple establishments, from nursing homes to prison facilities. However, this restriction of access can become a hazard in the event of an emergency. Striking the correct balance for your access control doors can be tricky, which is why a professional framing company is recommended for assistance. Doorwayz Unlimited is your source for the best entryway systems in Illinois, from complex door lock hardware to numerous commercial door frames. Our team of professionals is here to help you find the perfect solution for all of your commercial door needs. While our expert staff is ready to walk you through any entryway system needs you have, it’s important to note that many entities are in violation of their fire codes. Today, we’ll look at the balance between security and fire safety and how you can legally find the right balance in order to make all parties happy.

FIRE PROTECTION

One common occurrence across multiple industries is the balancing of employee and guest safety with their ability to egress during a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the national resource for proper fire alarm and safety procedures. NFPA 72, in particular, provides the latest safety provisions for fire alarms and signaling codes. NFPA 101 is a lesser-known article that focuses on the Life Safety Code®. This code centers around the safety of individuals within buildings in order to facilitate a safe setting for any and all people involved. As a standard of codes, NFPA 101 provides structure and regulation to deliver consistently safe conditions for building inhabitants everywhere. It’s important to note that this regulation is updated every three years, so be sure to check on the most updated information before working on your entryway system.

DOOR REQUIREMENTS

Generally, any commercial door system holds few fire code requirements for quick entry into a building, but the egress needs to be as smooth and simple as possible in case of an emergency. While technology is often at the center for concerns, the code allows an adequate use of access control with a compromise involving panic hardware. Any panic device that allows a simple, seamless egress from the building should be acceptable based on normal circumstances. A delayed egress device can be used in settings such as hospitals and schools that require continual effort to open. NFPA 101 requires that this device does not exceed a requirement of 15 pounds of pressure and no more than three seconds to release.

Doors with magnetic locks feature a strong electromagnet that holds everything securely closed. In order to ensure safe rapid exits, these devices will lose power during a fire alarm, releasing the locks and allowing easy egress. This can be a doubly-efficient technology, when doors are held open with electronic devices. In case of a fire, the power will shut off and the doors will close, meeting fire standards for damage mitigation. Since fire alarms are commonly plagued with false signals, you can elect to sync it up to allow a flag to be raised if more than one alarm is set off, or you can route the alarm system to a property monitoring professional. In areas of lower traffic and minimized restrictions, a motion sensor can also be used to allow interior occupants to exit quickly without the need for additional action. Every room and situation is unique, so it is important to work with your local fire authority with any and all concerns. Additionally, your fire system will not be able to prepare people for a rapid evacuation in the event of a different emergency, such as a flood or earthquake. As such, it will be vital to introduce devices that conform to NFPA 101’s Life Safety Codes in order to provide the correct amount of protection.

DOOR HARDWARE

The term “fire door” entails a few more restrictions that need to be upheld for facility safety. Beyond the rating for fire resistance, these safety doors cannot be modified in any style that reduces its effectiveness against fire, such as installing unsupervised hardware. All hardware that is included with a fire door will need to meet the same fire rating, often requiring a full assembly to minimize complications. Doorwayz Unlimited can help you to find the ideal setup for your building!

Striking the right balance between security and safety can be a major endeavor for any business owner or building authority. Your structure needs to be able to effectively control who can enter and exit while also providing unrestricted egress access in case of an emergency. From access control doors to reinforced framing, Doorwayz Unlimited is here to help you! Our expert team offers the best entryway systems in Illinois, including technical advice and installation. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your entryway project!