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To Save Money, How do I Install an Unlock-on-Fire Mag Lock?

By Douglas Krantz | Maintenance

To Save Money, How do I Install an Unlock-on-Fire Mag Lock?

To Save Money, How do I Install an Unlock-on-Fire Mag Lock?

Greetings Douglas,

I have question, and hope you have an answer.

I'm in a building that has private elevators, and a small foyer between the elevator door and the front door.

By law, we will have to do one of these things: either remove the outside door lock, or install a mag lock connected to the fire alarm of the building.

The fire alarm company has said they can install a mag lock for around $3,500.00.

I can install a mag lock with no problem. I can also work with electricity.

My question is, how do I connect the relay to the building's fire alarm System?

Thank You, MR

I realize that the installation of an electromagnetic door lock, and the electrical part of the wiring is fairly easy. However, there are side issues that need consideration.

The Law

If someone forgot to bring their key with them as they were fleeing for their life, they still have to get out of the building. A locked door will prevent that escape. Yes, many times, people have died because they could not get out of a locked building.

The law says: either don't lock the escape route, or, in case of fire, have the escape route automatically unlock.

Magnetic Lock and the Fire Alarm System

A mag lock, basically an electromagnet, will automatically unlock if its power is turned off or disconnected.

The fire alarm system can do the turning off of the power. However, the fire alarm system doesn't have a "Mag Lock" connection. On a custom-to-the-building basis, the fire alarm system has to be set up with this feature. Usually, it's necessary to add more equipment or modules, and the fire alarm programming has to be changed.


Yes. You are capable of installing the mag lock. But there's something else to think about. The "unlock-on-fire" mag lock, and especially the fire alarm system, are both life-safety systems. People in the building think that these systems will work all the time.

If a component fails, and then someone gets hurt, or worse, they, or their family will scrutinize whoever installed or modified the system. There is a possibility of a large lawsuit.

Connected to the Fire Alarm System

The big life-safety liability issue is because the mag lock is connected to the fire alarm system.

Because of the liability issue, I, personally, would prefer someone else to take on that liability. . . like the fire alarm company. They're used to it.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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