If there is a power outage in your building, will your main entrance doors be locked on the outside
or unlocked? Will individuals be able to enter the building during a power outage?
The answers depend on whether the doors have Fail Safe or Fail Secure locking devices. Building codes
occupants of a building
be allowed to
through emergency exit
(exit sign above the door)
do not require that everyone be allowed to enter a building during an emergency or power outage.
Electrified locking devices are generally classified as either "Fail Safe" or "Fail Secure." A Fail Safe device is unlocked when power is not being applied to it; it requires power in order to lock the door. A Fail Secure device is just the opposite; it remains secure (locked) in the absence of power, and requires that power be applied in order to unlock the door. The use of the term "safe" in this context is often confusing; you might not feel safe in a protected space if the doors unlocked during a power failure; but if the doors "failed safe," you would not have to worry about being able to exit the building.
There are various electrified door hardware products that can be used to electronically lock or unlock a door, all of which are commonly used in access
-controlled door applications. Typical applications include main
and employee entrance
Detex recommends using Fail Secure
locking devices for doors that lead to the exterior, so that only authorized personnel are allowed into the building, even during a power outage. However, depending on the jurisdiction and the applications
, there are situations that require
For instance, in most jurisdictions, fire
-rated stairwell doors must
Safe during a power outage, allowing
persons in a stairwell to seek refuge on certain floors and
giving first responders access to certain floors. Using exit devices with
Safe electrified trim is one way to control who has access in high
-rise buildings during normal operation,
ing first responders to access any floor during
a power outage or other emergenc
it is probably
advisable to insure
that main entrance doors are always locked during a power outage, allowing entrance only to authorized personnel with the proper key.
Power consumption is also a factor to be considered. Because Fail Safe locks by definition require continuous application of power to keep the door locked, they can be more expensive to operate than Fail Secure locks, which keep the doors secure even when no power is applied.
most efficient electric latch retraction exit devices still draw approximately 2 amp
s, keep in mind that this power consumption is brief, lasting
only a few milliseconds
; and all latch retraction exit devices are
Secure. In order for electric strikes and electrified trim to be
Safe, they must be constantly powered, drawing less than 1 amp every second of the day. Magnetic
locks require constant power, but are always
Safe. Electrified dogging exit devices can be used to allow push/pull operation of a door during normal business hours,
and is always
Secure during a power outage
they require constant power when dogged (push/pull operation).