Why do some assume fire exits can’t be used as entrances?
Also known as an emergency escape or panic escape door, a fire exit door is primarily installed to ensure safe and fast escape from a premises in the event of an emergency. The focus, therefore, is always on the escape / exit element of the door and not the entry.
The minimal requirement for a fire escape door is for the door to be fitted with panic hardware on the inside. A panic bar or push pad are most popular, manufactured in compliance with CE marking. Since there is no requirement for any external hardware, many fire exit doors have panic bars on the inside, but are flush on the outside with no visible hardware (other than the hinges).
Can a fire exit door be used as a form of entrance?
For a door to become an Entry Door, it needs a form of access from the outside. In the fire door industry, this is known technically as an ‘Outside Access Device’ or ‘OAD’ for short. This is simply a lockable knob or handle set that is compatible with the panic bar installed on the inside of the door that retracts the latch or trips the catch, replicating the panic bar being pushed down, but from the outside. By having a door installed with an OAD your door can instantly be used as an entrance door as well as a fire exit door, satisfying building regulations and your desire to use the door as an entrance, too.
It is important to note that once the outside access device is unlocked, the handle can be used repetitively until the device is locked again. It may be that the device is unlocked in the morning and locked of an evening to allow for frequent use of entry throughout the day. If, however, you require more exclusive access, see the code lock option below which only allows access once the code is pressed in; once the door is closed, it will require the code to be input again.
There are 3 types of Outside Access Devices compatible with most standard fire exit doors:
- Handle set (Exidor 298 – discontinued)
- Handle set (Exidor 322)
- Knob set (Exidor 302)
- Code lock
There are other ways of making your fire exit door more ‘entrance friendly’
– Install a letterbox to allow for post to be delivered (see fire exit door featured in the top image).
– Option a window / vision panel to let light in and so you can see who’s on the other side
– Install a door viewer for a more secure way of seeing who’s outside
– Choose a fixed fan light / top light or side light above or to the side of the door
– Add a door knocker to reinforce it’s purpose as an access door
For any further questions regarding the use of fire exit doors as entrance doors, our friendly sales and customer service team are always happy to help. Simply call 01384 220 050 or email your enquiry to: [email protected]
Confused with Fire Doors and Fire Exit Doors? See our article on the difference between fire rated and fire exit doors here