Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Limited, discusses some of the challenges of securing fire exit doors.

Are your fire exits secure, or can they sometimes be used for the wrong purpose? Securing fire exits might not be as straightforward as you first think. After all, there are many options to consider and there are rules surrounding the hardware you can fit and where.

You need to consider both safety and security, as the emergency exit needs to remain unlocked to allow for quick egress, but this presents an opportunity for theft, arson or security breaches if it is left unsecured.

An emergency exit held open by a fire extinguisher because someone has popped out to their car, and offers a quicker route than using the main entrance, is not an uncommon sight in many offices. This clearly is an invitation for someone unauthorised and opportunistic to enter the building, and so it is important that the security team can be quickly and easily made aware of this.

Fastlane Door Detectives have been installed at the emergency exits of a number of buildings to monitor traffic through this kind of doorway and alert security personnel.

A Door Detective may be used to monitor the fire exit using its infrared optical detection without connection to an access control system. In the event that the door is opened and a person passes through, the Door Detective will provide an indication of the unauthorised access event and the direction in which the person travelled.

In some cases, it is possible that a fire exit door is also used as an entrance, in this case the Door Detective may be integrated into the access control system to allow entry following authorisation using a proximity card or other means of identification, whilst monitoring for tailgating events. When access control is not used for the fire exits, the Door Detective in this case monitors the doorway, with the Door Detective configured for ‘free exit’. In this case, alarms are only asserted for persons entering the building through the fire exit.

Unauthorised users will also be caught out, as the system can be set to sound an alarm, thereby notifying anyone nearby of an intruder. Alternatively, this can be silent and an alert identified through Fastlane Connect, our web-based monitoring system, which can then be viewed by the security staff. Couple this with a CCTV camera and you would know exactly when to look at the footage captured to identify the cause of the breach. This can be particularly useful if someone has triggered a safety issue on purpose as a way to create a diversion for them to enter the building through the now-open emergency exits following an evacuation.

Door Detective can also be used to contribute to a building tally following an evacuation and to give a picture of the accessibility of the emergency exits for the people


throughout the building. Being able to track how many people used which exits will inform future improvements to emergency procedures, including accessibility of exits, volumes of staff.

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