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Experiencing the New Von Duprin Chexit

Chexit door label from Chexit installation instructions.

Von Duprin Chexit door label from Chexit installation instructions.

Last year Von Duprin began shipping Chexit self-contained delayed egress exit devices that are motorized instead of solenoid driven.  Since they are motorized, the new Chexits draw less current and will probably be more reliable than the previous solenoid-driven version. This means a less serious, less expensive power supply, less need for high capacity, high gauge, high cost wire and greatly increased workable wire run distances – all good things.

The new Chexit will do everything the old Chexit did, including release of the outside lever trim when the external inhibit function is activated by access control or another external switch.  That remains a way to get access control out of a Chexit by simply adding a blank escutcheon or other unlocked outside trim to the Chexit exit device.

As of this writing Exit-only function Chexit devices were being shipped less the part number 040193-00 cable used to connect the E996L to the Chexit PC board.  The cables are only provided if you order the Chexit from the factory with trim, but that is okay as long as you want to use no trim or non-electric trim.  Electrified trim is a means to provide fail secure access control from the trim side, so if the fire alarm goes off and powers down the Chexit, the fail secure electrified trim will stay locked.  Entry can still be gained by key.

On another note, recently I was involved in an application where the installer was replacing a mortise exit device and wanted delayed egress from the push side and free ingress from the pull side.  Luckily it was a mortise device, so all I had to do was provide a Chexit mortise exit device with blank escutcheon (passage function) trim because THE MORTISE LOCK ACTS INDEPENDENTLY FROM THE CHEXIT ON THE TRIM SIDE. Cool. 🙂

Bear in mind that  the Chexit remains active while people are using the passage function trim to get in, so if they happen to depress the touch bar, say by bumping it up against the wall for two seconds, they may activate the Chexit alarm.   Von Duprin Tech Support suggested a palm switch on the trim side to activate the inhibit circuit in the Chexit while a person enters from that side.

 





It was fun, easy, and I looked like a … Hardware Genius.

Locking People In

I often get a request to help create a system that locks people in.  People want to lock children inside a daycare center, students inside a “Time-Out” room, babies inside a nursery in a maternity hospital or patients inside, for example, an Alzheimer’s disease in-patient facility for their own good.

“Well, what if there’s a fire?” I ask.

That’s really the issue.  If we are keeping them in, how are they supposed to get out in the event of a fire?  Yet, except when there is a fire or other emergency that renders the building unsafe, it is in their best interest if they are kept inside.

Often, people simply want to lock people in with an electromagnetic lock or other device.  Since this is certainly a violation of life safety code, any injury that may result would be uninsurable and could invite litigation.

I discuss delayed egress systems in depth in another article (click here to read).     A delayed egress system is really the right way to do this, since it is actually covered in the NFPA 101A Special Locking Arrangements section of the fire safety code, but it is fairly inconvenient to use.  To get out without setting off an alarm users must use some kind of bypass request to exit switch like a keypad, card reader or key switch – much less convenient than, say, simply pushing a door open via the push pad on an exit device.

The gist of a delayed egress system is that, after a short ‘nuisance’ delay, the lock sounds an alarm for fifteen seconds and then lets the person out.  That means that authorities on the secured premises have fifteen seconds to get to the exit and prevent unauthorized egress.

Where unauthorized egress is not a life threatening prospect, therefore, a delayed egress system is perfectly adequate.  However, when a person’s life may depend on being kept inside their care facility, a more complex solution maybe required.

A great solution for Alzheimer’s or other dementia care facilities is the WanderGuard system by Stanley.  This system is designed for Alzheimer’s and other health care facilities where unscheduled patient departure is an issue, and covers other needs with fall monitoring and patient call capabilities.  Patients are fitted with bracelets that serve as tracking and communication devices.  As one might expect, such a system is not inexpensive and a bit on the overkill side for use in a day care center or maternity facility.  To physically keep people inside the facility, the WanderGuard system is designed to interface with delayed egress locks.

I think that the WanderGuard system would be a good choice for use in maternity ward nurseries as well.

The situation is more challenging when you have a day care center or a “Time-Out” room.

I had heard that Schlage was coming out with a mechanical time out lock, but a search as of today renders only the same Time-Out Room solution:  An electromagnetic lock with a momentary pushbutton.  The troublesome child is forced into a room, the door is shut, and then the teacher or other disciplinarian must physically press the momentary contact pushbutton to keep the magnetic locked locked.  As soon as the teacher lets go, the child is free.

As long as the button is momentary, I have no problem with this idea.  Should there be a fire or other life safety emergency, even if the teacher panics and runs away, leaving the child in the Time Out Room, the child will still be able to leave the room and exit the building.

The right way to prevent the kids in a daycare center from running out of the building and into the street without permission is with a delayed egress system.  True, it may be cumbersome to punch in a code on a keypad or present a proximity card for authorized egress, but delayed egress systems can be easily deactivated for periods of time, say, for drop off and pick up.  A delayed egress system is more expensive than, for example, an electromagnetic lock connected to the fire alarm system for safety.  But if you run the scenario of a fire in your mind, the fire alarm interface to the electromagnet malfunctions, panicked children and day care providers flinging themselves against an illegally locked door, too crazed with fear to think – suddenly a delayed egress system makes a lot more sense.

There is really only one place you can really lock someone in, and that’s in a jail or prison.  Otherwise there must be some provision to let them out – for safety’s sake.

 


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