Options for home security bars that will allow emergency exit

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MEMPHIS, Tenn — Security bars surround many homes on Severson Street in South Memphis, where Monday’s fatal fire killed nine.

Some bars have key locks and hinges that swing out.

Others have no hinges at all which can be a problem in case of a fire.

Shirley Kneal said that threat led her landlord to change out the type of locks on her home.

“They put in these security locks in case of a fire. You know you usually have a security lock like this, but they put this on here. Do it like this to lock it and do it like this to get out,” said Kneal, as she demonstrated the locking mechanism. “You might not know where you put the key at. This here is safer cause you can do the lock like that and come on out. ”

You can do the same, switching out key deadbolts for twist and turn bolt.

Even the fire department urged homeowners to look at the system in their home.

“You can upgrade them. There are kits that they can install or have installed on those bars that will upgrade them. There is a quick release device that they can add to them. They can check with security door companies and see what it will cost to upgrade them,” said Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Police Department.

Security door companies told us it could cost anywhere from $100 to $200 to install an emergency release on your security windows and doors.

We also found kits at Home Depot that allow you to do it yourself, many with hinges that you can control with a press of your foot. They cost about $60.

For half that price you can even pick up a quick release kit that can be installed on bars inside you home, allowing easy exit in case of an emergency.

These options, if considered now, may save you precious time in the future.

“You ain’t got no bars, all you have to do is get something, break the glass out and come on out,” said Kneal.

There are also systems you can get on-line for less than $30, but make sure you do your research, understand how they work and get professional help for installation if you need it.