Panic Hardware for Emergency Exit and Fire Escape Doors

Why do we need Panic Hardware?

We need Panic Hardware to ensure the safety of our staff, clients, visitors, contractors and the public – all of whom we are legally and morally obliged to protect.

Read FREEDOM TO ESCAPE (an article by David Miller) to better understand the legal requirements for hardware that will freely allow escape, as required by the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), National Building Regulations and SANS 10-4000T. There are severe penalties for failure to comply, including imprisonment and hefty fines.  Failure to allow escape in an emergency can also incur additional penalties in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, if an injury or death occurs.

What is Panic Hardware?

Panic Hardware generally refers to hardware that is required by law to be fitted to the inside of emergency exit or fire escape doors, that will allow the occupants of a building to escape easily and quickly in an emergency – without hindrance, keys, tools or special knowledge.  This hardware is also variously referred to as fire-exit hardware, fire escape devices, crash bars, push bars, fire escape hardware, exit devices, emergency exit devices or fire-handles (and incorrectly – as fire-locks).  Fire exits are NEVER locked against escape from the inside.

To better understand this subject and the legal obligations involved, read 000 Panic Hardware for Fire Escapes which is an illustrated guide to Fire Escapes and Panic Hardware, written by David Miller.

Alarmed Panic Hardware

What all emergency exit devices have in common is that they must open by ‘body weight’ – ALWAYS!  In the event of one person or a crowd surging against the door, it MUST open immediately without even the need to use one’s hands!

Whereas escape may not be prevented, there are various measures that can be taken to prevent Fire Escapes from being misused.  Guards and CCTV are useful tools in this regard – however, an alarm that sounds when the door is opened is a deterrent and a necessary first-step in the process.

For information on Alarmed Panic Hardware read Are you installing DETEX.  Also read DETEX 40 QUALITY for information on the preferred DETEX V40 range of Alarmed Panic Hardware.

In some instances panic devices may offer access control facilities to allow authorised access from the outside – whilst always allowing free escape from the inside.  For more information download or read DETEX V40001 ER Access Control

Whilst providing a fast and easy exit, the panic hardware should also secure the door against entry from the outside – to satisfy Loss Control requirements.

Panic bar with rods

An example of panic bar with vertical locking rods is shown at left below. 59810-reversed

The vertical rods allow better protection against outside attack. The panic bar with vertical rods can be used on it’s own, on a single door, or on the fixed (second-opening) leaf of a pair of double doors.

The panic latch bar shown at right is suitable for single doors, and for the moving (first-opening) leaf of a pair of double doors.

The DETEX range of alarmed panic hardware offers extra-strong UL Listed crashbarand fire rated panic hardware with built-in alarms, as well as facilities for remote monitoring.

View our Detex range of emergency exit hardware

 Do I need Fire Doors and Emergency Exit Hardware?

Designated fire escapes in buildings in South Africa which have a ‘designed occupancy of 25 or more persons’ are usually required to have one or more hinged, outward-opening doors as fire escapes or emergency exits, through which ‘escape initiated by body-weight’ can take place in an emergency. Fitting the correct emergency exit device or panic hardware device should  meet this requirement.

These doors must open easily and freely from inside, and should self-close after escape to prevent the ingress of oxygen, (which would fan a fire, and disperse the resultant smoke into fire escape and other areas).  Escape Doors may be Fire-Rated according to the risks involved and the number of people who may occupy the building.  For full details of Fire-Doors and Fire-Ratings click on

A dual-action fire-rated overhead surface mounted door closer such as the CISA door closer illustrated at right will ensure that a correctly hung door will close automatically to form a seal against smoke and will also prevent the ingress of fresh air (which fans a fire and drives toxic smoke through the premises).

Read  SIWRS Door Closers to understand how door closers should be selected and used to ensure that doors close after escape has taken place – which will also make the premises more secure against vandalism during and after an emergency, as well as preventing stock and other losses.

Fire Exits must be able to be opened by any person, in the dark, with no prior knowledge of the premises or the equipment.

WHAT IS NOT PERMITTED:  Break-glass boxes with keys, break-glass bolts or any device that requires the use of special knowledge, a key, a hammer, or a tool of any kind. For more information read:  Break Glasses not allowed.  Also NOT permitted is anything that will hinder escape – such as bolts, padlocks etc

View the Detex range of alarmed panic hardware for OUTWARD OPENING HINGED DOORS and contact us with your door information so that we can identify the best DETEX product for your application.  Please furnish door-frame sizes – measured from the inside (with the door/s closed) to help us find the correct model for your application.



CISA PANIC HARDWARE: View the range of CISA FAST Panic Hardware for OUTWARD OPENING HINGED DOORS, and contact us with your door information so that we can identify the best product for your application.

Are you an architect, builder, specifier or property owner looking for quality panic hardware for your current project?

Contact us to find out which panic hardware and door closers will be optimal for your project.  Please furnish door-frame sizes when enquiring.  Note that emergency exits must be hinged, and must open OUTWARDS – in the direction of escape.

Are you an office manager or shopping centre manager looking to safeguard staff and shoppers and meet the statutory fire exit requirements without compromising your Loss Control policies?

Ask us for a  demonstration of our state of the art panic hardware, so that we can show you how it will improve the safety and security of your emergency exits.

Are you a security manager, security consultant or access control installer who requires a solution to secure fire doors for Loss Control, while maintaining the necessary safety standards?  Talk to us and offer your clients high quality Fire-Rated panic hardware!

We offer our products to the trade and the public at our premises in Unit B14, Milnerton Business Park, Milnerton. Talk to our LOXPERTS about which panic hardware will be best suited to your specific application. Click on contact-details or contact us:  +27 (0)21-555-1720,