Different locking systems are selected for a variety of reasons, and delayed egress is an option that integrates a couple of different features. It is typically a standard-style exit device with electronics, a built-in alarm and a printed emergency message on the device. Most people are accustomed to an exit device allowing immediate exit. But with delayed egress, there is typically a 15-second period of time during which the latch remains in the locked position and an alarm sounds. This feature is used on a door that can be used for emergency exit, but is not supposed to be used for exiting under any other circumstances.
Why would anyone install an exit device on an emergency door that doesn't open for 15 seconds?
Because something needs to be secured, or an alert is necessary to protect someone or something that might be going through the exit when it shouldn't be.
Some examples of delayed egress applications are:
- Back doors of retail stores as a method of loss prevention
- Doors in memory-care facilities to protect patients who might be leaving
- In day-care facilities to avoid abductions or unattended children leaving the premises
- In airports to secure areas where the general public isn't normally allowed
In all of these cases, the system is installed to temporarily contain someone or something for a period of 15 seconds while an alert is sounded so someone can take action.
Is 15-second delayed egress legal?
In most cases it is. The device must be tied to the fire alarm and sprinkler system as an override for immediate exit in case of a fire. It is also necessary to check the life safety codes in the municipality where the device is being installed prior to installation to verify that it is legal.