By Thomas A. Westerkamp
Door hardware components in institutional and commercial facilities have always been central players in ensuring the safety, security and health of occupants and visitors. And as mass shootings increase and as facilities nationwide grapple with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, maintenance and engineering managers must take an even closer look at their decisions when specifying door locks, closers, hinges and other key components.
By understanding advances in new-generation locks, closers, hinges and other key components and by identifying weak spots and vulnerabilities in security and safety, managers can specify door hardware more effectively and incorporate it successfully into upgrades designed to enhance security.
Interchangeable core locks are available in a larger number of brands. They have a control key, which releases the core from the housing, and an operator key, which opens the lock. The control key is slightly longer, allowing it to trip a release in the back end of the core for core removal.
If personnel changes, lost keys or scheduled periodic replacement require re-keying to maintain security, the technicians simply replaces the lock core and distributes new matching keys without costly emergency locksmith calls. The technician then can recombinate the core and, along with a matching set of keys, store it for later use if the need arises. The same interchangeable core can be extracted and replaced in any type of lock, including bored cylindrical locks, mortise locks and padlock.
Master mechanical key systems are set up with several levels, each one opening a wider range of locks, with one master key that opens all the locks. Managers can achieve the same control and security by using proximity cards or other electro-mechanical computer-controlled systems. These systems also have a much wider range of applications, including time-of-day, day-of-week, seasonal, job description, contractor control, and rapid, no-locksmith rekeying, to name a few. This flexibility and enhanced security are among the key reasons for the rapid expansion of electro-mechanical locks.
As more door-security systems convert to electro-mechanical technology, it will be increasingly important to use generator backup with auto-transfer from the power distribution system. One proven choice is a generator fueled by natural gas that is piped in underground to provide a reliable fuel source.