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Electric Door Strikes – fail safe vs. fail secure

This short piece aims to explain some important information about the use of electric door strikes in homes.

Electric strikes are a convenient way to allow keyless entry to a door. They can be triggered externally from a keypad or key fob “swipe”, and internally they can be unlocked with a “request to exit” or REX button.

Strikes are available in two types – fail safe and fail secure.

Fail safe door strikes will UNLOCK in the absence of power. This means that if there is an extended blackout, the door will become unlocked. This is not conducive to good security.

Fail secure door strikes are LOCKED unless power is applied to unlock them. This means they remain secure at all times, but during extended power outages, this does pose another problem – how do you unlock the door if there’s no power?

While we provide battery backup systems to maintain functionality of electronic locking systems during outages, there’s ultimately only so long a battery can last before it is drained. We can never allow a situation to eventuate where a person can become trapped inside due to failure of an electronic locking system.

For this reason it is CRITICAL to have a mechanical means by which to unlock any door required for egress in case of a power outage. Some suitable examples are shown below.

The above options are basic, and there are plenty of alternate choices available. Regardless of which type of visual option is most appealing, the most important thing is to ensure the mechanical release is always available to maintain egress.