Month: April 2017

General Article

The Sad Story of the Panic Bar and how they came into Existence

Many people do not think much of a building’s design. They simply believe that if a building is standing and has operable doors then it is a good place to be. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A lot of building codes have been established over the past 100 years to ensure that people are not losing their lives inside of unsound structures. One type of building code that has been enforced in modern times has to do with the push bar on doors. This structural feature became a reality in the late 1800s after 183 children lost their lives in very bad incident at a local concert hall in England.

The Victoria Hall Stampede

On June 16, 1883 there was a grand concert being given in the Sunderland, England. Wikipedia explains the events which took place on this fateful day. This particular event featured a popular kids traveling show. This production was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Fay. They were a married couple who were extremely popular in those days with the kids. People can compare them to a variety show that might be seen on Nickelodeon or the Disney Network. Their huge popularity caused thousands of kids from around the area to come out to the show. Kids came from all over Sutherland and from other parts of England (and Europe) to see them perform.

After the event was over, an announcement was made about prizes. Children who had specially marked tickets would receive a special prize once they existed the door of the concert hall. The concert hall was known as Victoria Hall. Some of the entertainers for the show started to hand out prizes. However, kids who were located on the top part of the concert hall did not want to miss out on the opportunity to grab some goodies. They came thundering down the steps without any parental or concert hall supervision. Once this happened it set off a chain reaction where all of the kids were trying to be the first ones to get a prize. This situation turned into a disaster.

The concert hall workers tried to slow the kids down but they couldn’t. They tried to keep them from stampeding the stage and directed them down a narrow hallway to a door where only one child could pass through at a time. Still, the kids were not controlled. Kids who surged toward the door which was only designed for person to get through at a time. However, the kids coming in droves through that small channel and the door was jammed with small children. The kids who were near the door were immediately crushed and lots more died behind them as the crowds pushed in. The concert hall workers and entertainers saved as many lives as they could but 183 young people died once the event was over.

The Implementation of the Push Bar

Many people all over England were outraged of this event. Wikipedia stated that Queen Victoria sent out condolences to parents and she required that no building would have doors that did not open all the way for occupants. Many people agreed to her request. The main thing that killed most of the children was the tight door that only allowed one child through at a time. Building designers reconfigured door handles and came up with the push bar feature. It has been included in most building designs all over the world to prevent tragic events like this from happening in the future. Panic bar exit devices Elmhurst IL are designed to prevent accidents like these as well.

A Final Word about Building Code Safety

Once again, building design is important to the safety of people. Having the right type of codes and features included on a building helps to save lives and to keep people from being seriously injured. Push bars and other structural safeguards ensure that another sad event like this one, will never take place.