From childhood to adulthood, people are usually told that they should notice the fire exits when entering or staying in public buildings or premises. This can be a matter of life or death when there’s a fire or an emergency occurs.

To ensure fire safety, an emergency exit on an escape route in public buildings or premises is mandatorily required, which is also called a fire exit.

According to the fire protection requirements, public buildings or premises should automatically cut the power when a fire happens. With that being said, a fire exit door and a matched suitable locking system should be considered to strike the balance between personal safety, property security, and access control convenience.

To open fire exits fast and easily, it’s requested that exit doors should be simple to operate and immediate to open. Regarding such requirements, a suitable locking system is very important.

Magnetic locks use electric power to create a magnetic force to lock doors, without mechanical latches or bolts. This structure makes them the perfect match for emergency or fire exits.

Below are the three main ways to open the fire exit with a magnetic lock:

By loss of power

In the event of a fire, the electromagnetic locks will automatically unlock when de-energized, so the fire exit door can be released. In this case, people just need to push the fire exit door and evacuate the building, with no worry about the door being unable to open because of mechanical failure.

Fire alarm systems

When maglocks are used on fire exit doors, they’re usually connected to the fire alarm systems. Once the fire alarm is incurred, the fire alarm system sends a signal to the control relay to interrupt the power supply, so the magnetic lock is turned off and releases the door free.

Fire Alarm Linked With Magnetic Lock Draft

By emergency break switches

But under some circumstances, there’s a possibility that the power to the door lock isn’t cut off, or the fire alarm system fails to activate the power outage. For the purpose of avoiding such risks, it’s better to add emergency break switches or similar door release devices to the fire exit doors, as second insurance to release the door.

In case people encounter the electromagnetic lock not releasing the fire exit door but have an urgent need to escape through it, they can push hard the center of the soft glass/acrylic panel of the emergency brake switch. This will cause the micro switch inside the emergency brake switch to isolate the power to the mag lock. Then the door can be opened.

Emergency Break Glass Switch Linked With Magnetic Lock

Though the emergency break switches can be reset by replacing new panels, they should not be used routinely to open doors.

To sum up, magnetic locks request electric power to create an electromagnetic force to lock doors and make use of power failure to unlock and release doors. This feature suits the fireproof requirements, so electromagnetic locks are widely used with fire alarm systems and access control solutions for fire or emergency exits. Accordingly, how to open the fire exit with a magnetic lock becomes a wide topic for public buildings or premises where a suitable locking solution for a fire exit or emergency escape is required. Hope this article can start a further discussion on this issue.