Clunk, Slam, Bang
Ever been in a hospital as either a patient or as a visitor and hear the beeping of machines, the chatter of staff or visitors, the televisions? Hard to miss depending on what floor or wing of the hospital you are in. What about listening for slamming of doors, or the push of an actuator, the clunk of an exit device or a the latch retraction of a Push/Pull Paddle? Any noise makes it difficult to sleep, rest, recover as a patient. Quiet products within the Healthcare Market are becoming very important and knowing what products are on the market helps the locksmiths know which product to install.
For patient rooms, any reduction in noise is important for many reasons. A mechanical push pad on an exit device, or the push/pull latch retraction of a hospital latch, can be a disruption for those needing peace and quiet. Mechanical devices aren’t the only issues, even electric latches can produce a lot of noises.
Trying to Rest
When I gave birth to my youngest, I entered the hospital blurry eyed at 1:00 a.m. with contractions. I was placed in a room next to the main entrance of the maternity ward. The opening and closing of the door all night long didn’t let me rest at all, I heard each and every entry and exit to the ward. So here I am in labor thinking about work and all the products they could install to keep the door quiet. Not exactly a quiet and “restful” birthing experience, though oddly enough my labor that night stopped and I was sent home. When I did return to the maternity ward, I was prepared to ask for a different room if they were going to put me in the same loud room. Luckily, it was the furthest room from the entrance, whew!
Low energy is a term that is often heard lately, and low energy quiet latches with low dB levels can be one option. Another option is to incorporate dampers that decelerate mechanical push pads on the exit device and return stroke & motor-driven electronic latches where most of the noise associated with an exit device is eliminated. Modular electric latch conversion kits are available to allow a hospital to upgrade an existing exit device to a newer quieter version without the need to purchase a brand new exit device. The kits offer a lower cost solution to a bigger problem.
For doors with a rod-based exit device, Allegion offers a concealed vertical cable system in their Von Duprin line. These exit devices are a quieter solution compared to a standard surface or concealed rod due to the enclosed cable-based exit device that does not lift up or down with a clang. Hospitals can also install a pneumatic controlled exit device which uses compressed air, and is available on non-electrified panic and fire exit hardware. A third option is heavy-duty rubber door silencers that can be attached to the door frame and act as a sound absorber. The silencers will absorb the force generated from a closing door, though these will not solve the issue of a loud mechanical exit device “clunk” noise.
Do you have a question, or need a quote? Contact your local IDN Branch.
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Kathleen Kempf is the Marketing Manager at IDN-H. Hoffman