Is It Possible to Lock People Inside a Building


When it comes to locking doors it’s common to come across locks that one can lock from inside. But what happens when you wish to lock someone in from the outside, for their own good?

Yes, it might sound almost abusive or unethical at first, but there are instances when locking people in is the safest way out in a situation. For instance, when you are living with an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient, you understand how dangerous it can be if this person were to wander off. The agony of that thought alone is enough for people to lock their loved one in for purely safety and security reasons.

There are many more instances when locking people in might be the most practical thing to do. For example, locking toddlers inside daycare centers or infants inside a nursery on the maternity ward of a hospital.

However, the most worrying aspect of locking people inside is what happens to them in the presence of a life threatening prospect like a fire or an active shooter in the area. How do they make their way out?

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to lock someone in, here are five locking options especially designed for such cases that locksmith services can help you with.

Delayed Egress Systems

A popular locking option for this scenario is the delayed egress locking system, which is an electrified hardware that prevents the door from opening immediately and only opens after 15 to 30 seconds post activation.

When someone tries to exit by pushing open the door, in the 15-30 second delay, an alarm goes off to signal the others in the vicinity – be it the other occupants in a house, nurses or security guards in a hospital, or teachers at a daycare. This alarm will alert them that someone is trying to get out of the door.

If it is an ‘unauthorized exit’, they are able to rush to the area and take necessary action. However, this works as a savior in the case of a life-threatening situation like a fire wherein the occupant is able to exit the room within 15 seconds without being restrained in a dangerous environment.

A delayed egress locking system has been deemed ethical and is covered in the NFPA 101A Special Locking Arrangements section of the fire safety code.

Access-Controlled Egress System

How different is an access-controlled egress system from a delayed egress system, you ask? While a delayed egress system door will automatically unlocks after 15 seconds, a controlled egress system remains locked until it is unlocked from the outside by someone else, by the fire protection system, or due to power failure. This locking system has a card reader on the exterior to allow people to enter.

This is very commonly used in hospitals to protect patients from leaving and infants from being frisked from maternity wards. As per 2015 IBC Commentary, the areas where controlled egress is permitted include psychiatric areas, dementia units, Alzheimer’s units, maternity units, and newborn nurseries.

WanderGuard Blue System

WanderGuard System is a locking system introduced by Stanley Healthcare, specially designed for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other patients who are at risk for wandering.

This wander management system allows simplified day-to-day management of patients. It requires minimal wiring and comes with a host of sleek and elegant components that assure peace of mind with high safety standards.

Its main component is the EX5700 Door Controller, which monitors doors and prevents patients from wandering. Another component is the Blue Tag, which the patient is made to wear like a bracelet. It sends a signal to the controller if the patient is trying to exit after which the controller issues an alert and also locks the door.

Apart from these, the WanderGuard Blue System also comes with an Indoor Keypad that allows visitors or nurses to enter or exit through this controlled door by entering a four-digit code.

Confounding Door Lock

This is a keyless door lock that does not even resemble a lock in the first place. It can be placed and locked from the inside to prevent wanderers from exiting. While caregivers can unlock the door with ease, patients or children would find it difficult to decode this lock.

The Confounding Door Lock is sturdy, durable, and easy to install. It can only be placed on doors that swing inward. It is advisable to place this lock exceptionally high or low so that the someone is unable to locate it with ease.

Contact your locksmith service and you can have this installed this within minutes!

 Keyless Security System

If you run a daycare center or any other child-oriented business, you are likely to be met with concerns from parents regarding the safety of their children. There have been so many instances of child abduction and school shootings, which warrant their heightened anxiety.

The best way to secure this type of property is by implementing a keyless security system. Through a keyless security system, only authorized personnel can enter the vicinity by punching in their unique ID codes. In some cases, people can also enter with fingerprints instead. There is no need for keys or access cards in this scenario.

This entry system also monitors who is entering and exiting a building in real-time. While the set-up might be expensive and time-consuming, it is very well suited for ensuring the safety of children.

If you run a large establishment involving children and can afford this system, you must definitely consider it to assure parents that their children are in safe hands.

If you wish to have any of these locks installed in your residential or commercial property, contact us. At Harry’s Locksmith, we have been serving residents and businesses for over 60 years. We aren’t a typical locksmith service that just saves you from a lockout, we specialize in a host of services related to automatic doors, rekeying and master keying, deploying extensive security solutions among others.

Reach out to day to learn even more ways to keep the people in your care safe.


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