Security Equipment Review – Emergency Exits


Of course my Dispensary, Recreational or Grow facility has good emergency fire door locks. That was simple … right?

Not so fast. If you think going to the local hardware store and adding a deadbolt to your emergency fire doors is the answer to your locking needs, you best keep reading.

Locks are more complicated than just adding them to a door and getting a key you can’t duplicate. Make a mistake and you could be looking at serious fines and possibly being closed down by a city inspector.

OSHA fined Dollar General $83,000 for ‘serious’ violations – “blocked & locked exits,” including, “Continually exposing their workers to the hazards, blocked exits, locked exits, blocked electrical panels have been found throughout their corporation nationwide. They are all violations that OSHA says are extremely dangerous for their employees and customers, especially when it comes to the emergency exits.”

Got your attention, now, don’t I?

When it comes to locking emergency fire doors, you need to keep two things in mind – getting out and getting in. That’s because all exterior customer doors, from the time you enter the building to the time you walk outside, are called “Means of Egress.”

Why is this important to know? Because door safety codes are very strictly enforced by building and fire inspectors who want to make sure employees and customers can always escape in the event of a fire. They also want to make sure firemen aren’t trapped when they fight a fire.

Any door you pass on your way out must operate with one motion. That means if you use the door handle or press the panic bar, you only have to do that action to get out. So adding a deadbolt to the door above the regular latch lock will be a violation of the code and the law. It’s that simple.

So how do you add security? Fortunately there are many code-compliant solutions out there.

Your back door is one of the most important doors to protect. That’s where a would-be burglar is going to use a crowbar and other tools to break-in.  I recommend the Rolland Exit Lock to my clients.

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This unit is a multi-point exit lock which bolts the emergency door to the frame at up to 5 points – three bolts on the lock side and two on the hinge side. That means you can have deadbolts on the door but still meet the life-safety code, because hitting the Rolland Exit Lock door paddle opens all the bolts with one fell swoop. You can’t get any easier exiting than that.

The Rolland Exit Lock system is currently used in cellular phone companies, chain drug stores, video game stores, and electronics retailers across the U.S. This locking system has been used for years to prevent break-ins and there are lots of different locking models available to meet your exiting and entry needs, including ones that can tie-into a card access system or have remote unlocking by push button.

As I have been saying at every cannabis conference I speak at, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to secure your business. Do it once and do it right – don’t risk getting shut down or fined because you tried to stop a break-in.

Tony Gallo is the Senior Director of Sapphire Protection ( with over 30 years in the Loss Prevention, Audit, Safety, and Risk/Emergency Management fields. Tony has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University and is a member of Americans for Safe Access and the National Cannabis Industry Association. Tony is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis and financial loan service security and safety. Contact Tony at and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect


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