How to Keep Panic Exit Doors Unlocked

We often get asked HOW to keep panic exit doors unlocked.

Panic exit devices, also known as “Push Bars” allow “free egress” and always allow people to exit by pushing on the bar. Fire code regulations stipulate which doors of public and private commercial buildings must have panic exit devices.

Many panic exit devices can be placed in an unlocked mode so persons can enter as well as exit the space freely. Unfortunately there is no single answer to this question. It depends upon the brand and model of exit device. And some devices do not have that feature.

The most common way to “dog down” or place the exit device in the unlocked mode is by pushing the bar, inserting and turning a “dogging key” into a hole on the interior bar of the exit device. The dogging key is commonly a hexagonal or “hex” key like the picture. These come in many sizes depending upon the brand and model of the exit device.

Some models use a regular key to dog down the exit device. This type of dogging offers additional security so that the door cannot put in unlocked mode unless you have this key. Some models can be dogged down by turning the key on the exterior side keyhole and depressing the exit bar.

Tinder Lock and Security can help you find the method to use to keep the panic exit device unlocked on your building.

The first step is to determine the brand of exit device. Look on the ends of the bar for a tag or stamp. Sometimes this is on the hardware on the narrow edge of the door opposite the hinge. Then take a couple of photos of the bar, latch and exterior and send it to us. With that information we can usually determine what you need to dog down your panic exit device.