If a fire breaks out in your home or apartment, do you know where your house keys are? Can you find them if your apartment is filled with smoke? Are they in your purse? On the kitchen counter? In the couch?
We have had several emails in the past week regarding exterior door locks and how to stay within building codes and still maintain a high-level of security. First building codes require that people are able to unlock and exit emergency egress doors:
- without the need for special tools or special knowledge;
- operation shall be accomplished with a minimum amount of effort (no more than 15 lbf) of force;
- to protect against inadvertent operation by a young child, the release mechanism(s) requires two distinct actions to operate;
- the release mechanisms must have their operating mechanisms clearly identified for use in an emergency; and,
- release devices cannot be designed in a manner which accommodates the use of locking devices which require special tools or knowledge to operate, such as combination locks or keyed locks.
These requirements are found in buildings codes across the country, not just the District of Columbia.
There are several types of locks available on the market that meet this requirement that have a thumb release from the interior. Several folks have asked us for local companies who can help identify the best locking system for your apartment or specific brands of locks that work best. However, we cannot legally suggest specific companies or brands of locks. So if you’re a current landlord or contractors who has found a system that works well for you and stays within codes, please share your solution.
Note: Any companies or brands mentioned in the comments are not to be considered as an endorsement by DCRA.