Garage Shield Logo with Trademark
Purpose of Emergency Pull Cord on Garage Door

Protection From Home Invasions

Purpose of Emergency Pull Cord on Garage Doors



First and foremost, the pull cord is federal requirement: Learn More

Every ask yourself what the purpose of emergency pull cords are? As you become a homeowner, there is a period in time where the euphoria of purchasing your first home slowly fades, and the realization of “now I need to take care of all this stuff” comes washing over. Some of it big, oftentimes small; but even the small stuff gets you thinking as you make your way around the house and start noticing a feature that is “off” or simply something you’ve never really given much thought to.

With so many tons of new things to learn and review, we often overlook seemingly unimportant items, which in reality may be critically important. Which brings us to the garage. For that matter, What exactly is the Purpose of Emergency Pull Cord on Garage Door ?

For most before owning a home, the garage is typically looked at as a bonus. “The house is nice, but it also has a garage!” Now you can park indoors when it’s cold out, or now you simply have a ton more room to store all of your stuff until your lease runs out and you need to find a new place to live.

But when you’re a homeowner, you start to see things a little differently… “How am I going to get all of my stuff stored and organized in here so I can also fit my car?” But also, and importantly, how am I going to protect my stuff from garage theft?” And, “Hey, what is this red cord for?”

While we’ve covered countless topics that focus specifically on the home security aspect, like how to tell if a burglar is watching your house and how to keep a vacant house safe, today we are going to focus on that red cord. 


Simply put, it is an EMERGENCY EXIT.  You wouldn’t duct tape your airplane exit shut would you?  How about zip tying the push bar on the fire exit door at work?  Silly right?  Same here.  WORSE: If something does happen, then your insurance investigator can deny your claim, if you tampered with a federally recognized emergency exit.  Theres a reason the MANUFACTURER, doesn’t tell you to put zip ties or string after installing the opener.

purpose of emergency pull cord

Purpose of emergency pull cords on garage

The purpose of the emergency pull cord on your garage door is to allow you to operate the garage door manually. When the cord is pulled, the garage door is disengaged from the opener, and then free to move along the track on its own.

When would you have to pull the emergency cord?

As the name suggests, the pull cord is to be used in the event of an emergency—with the severity of related emergency varying from the something relatively minor like a simple power outage, to a situation a bit more dire like a power outage in combination with being in harm’s way either inside or outside of the garage and needing to get to the other side.

What should you do after the cord is pulled?

First, take caution in knowing the door operation is completely manual now, and that means it could fall shut or come crashing down on its own if you’re not careful. Next, once the cord is pulled, the emergency situation has passed, and everyone is out of harm’s way, the cord should be reattached to the level and door opener where it was prior.

And to that point, the cord should always be reachable and operable. It may seem like a no-brainer, but many choose to zip tie their garage door disengaging arm to prevent criminals from reaching in with a coat hanger and pulling the release.  To be clear, the rope is supposed to be available from at least a 6 foot reach from the floor.

In doing so, though, you’re making it harder for you or a family member to pull the cord when they need to. It’s like nailing a 2×4 to the inside or outside of your front door because you feel it makes it harder for someone to open that door, thus giving you added protection. But what about when you need to get out or in? It could trip you up, and thus there are much better ways.

Same goes for the garage. There is no need to remove the helpful capabilities an emergency cord provides, especially when you can buy a simple garage door anti-theft device like the Garage Shield.

A Note On Zip Ties:

UL CODE 325, subsection § 1211.9, provides specific guidelines and requirements of the red rope, including being able to reach the rope with 6 feet from the floor.  Theres a reason the MANUFACTURER doesn’t tell you to put zip ties or string after installing the opener, is because they don’t want to be liable for an insurance claim (say the garage catches fire and you can’t get out).  Further reading here.  Thats it really, thats the purpose of the emergency pull cord, simply to follow the government regulation and not getting in trouble when filling insurance claims.

Federal government UL Code 325 subsection 1211.9, specifically calls for the rope being in place and also within 6 feet reach from the floor.   You really shouldn’t tamper with a government regulation.

Zip Ties can trap you, a loved one, or other person in your garage during a fire or other emergency. There’s TONS of articles and media coverage saying not to do it.  You’d have to be pretty clueless to think it’s a good idea to block an emergency exit …. you would’t put duct tape on an airplane emergency exit right?  The news media has been criticized for advocating zip ties because they block emergency exists and put homeowners at risk.  Again, the purpose of the emergency pull cords are to save lives.  "EMERGENCY".  

If something terrible happens and you file a claim with your insurance company, and the adjuster finds out you tampered with the exit, you’ll probably be denied. This device is recommended by the garage door industry including law enforcement and fire, because it doesn’t block an exit. The Garage shield is complaint with UL Code 325 and Federal Safety Regulations.

To summarize, when you see that cord in your garage, make sure it’s attached and ready for use, and then just leave it alone. The goal is to never need it, but if you do, you’ll want it to be able to easily and capably do its intended job.

Shouldn’t You Be Protecting Your Home with a Garage Shield Today?

Scroll to Top