A crash bar (also known as a push bar, panic bar, exit device or panic device) is a mechanism for unlatching a door, consisting of a spring-loaded metal bar fixed horizontally to the inside of an outward-opening door.
It is operated by pushing on it, which unlatches and opens the door. Many countries' building codes require them on all fire and emergency exits.
They are so named because they can be operated by someone "crashing" into them; the alternate term "panic bar" implies a similar meaning. In the UK, British Standards EN179 and EN1125 apply to panic hardware for workplace access and public access buildings respectively.
Many of these doors are intended to function as emergency exit doors and cannot be opened from the outside. To use this device on a two-way door, either another type of door handle must be mounted on the opposite side, or the bar, itself, can be locked in a neutral (latch open) position, thus allowing the door to be freely opened from either side.
The above info can be accessed in full on Wikipedia but all info will vary depending on the type of door in use and whether it opens in or out.
Info supplied by www.directdoors.com
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