Why do doors to most homes open inward, while in many public buildings, the entry doors open outward?
As a locksmith in Virginia I get a lot of questions from people and someone asked me why doors in a home open inward and a business many open outward. The answer is simple and also makes sense.
Unlike a private home, a public building is likely to have large numbers of people in it. In case of fire or other emergency, these people need to be evacuated as quickly and easily as possible.
When a mob of people rushes an exit, it’s very hard for somebody to open the door inward — everyone pushes up against the door, and there is no room for it to open. For this reason, an effective emergency exit needs to open outward, moving with the force of the mob. This is also why a lot of emergency exits are built with wide “panic bars” instead of ordinary door knobs. The basic idea is to build the exit so even the most out-of-control mob will be able to escape.