An exit control lock, also known as an exit control device, exit lock, or simply an exit control, prevents or deters unauthorized exit.
Exit control locks are often used in retail establishments to deter shoplifting. They are also used in airports and other controlled areas, where people are held until they clear customs or quarantine stations. Exit control locks are also used in libraries, where there is one well-staffed entrance and exit, and a number of other exits that are intended for emergency use only. Exit control devices are often used in hospitals, and can be interfaced to wireless sensors worn by newborn children, so that all exits will lock if a baby is stolen from one of the hospital rooms.
Often, shops will make an exit emergency use only to deter shoplifting. Usually, the door is locked with an emergency exit button next to it. Pushing the emergency exit button will unlock the door and set the shop's fire alarm off. This deters shoplifting because a person who unlocks the door in order to take an item out of the building when it is not an emergency may be reported to the police, with CCTV footage if available.
Many exit control locks are based on magnetic locks. One type, delayed egress magnetic locks, will not allow the door to open immediately. This allows a guard to get to the door before the door opens. It will also release if there is a fire alarm or power failure, but otherwise these locks hold the exit doors shut. These units are common in Alzheimer units.
Exit control systems can include a "request to exit detector" such as a pushbutton that opens the exit if exit requests are enabled.
In other facilities, entrances as well as exits require authentication such as swiping or otherwise reading a card with a card reader. If an intruder slips by the entrance controls of a building, they will be able to be detained for questioning.