Every week is safe schools week in our book, but in1984 the National School Safety Center (NSSC) designated a special week to recognize the successes of quintessential school, district, state, and national programs.
Per the NSSC website, the goal of this campaign is to “motivate key education and law enforcement policymakers, as well as students, parents and community residents, to vigorously advocate school safety. School safety includes keeping campuses free from crime and violence, improving discipline, and increasing student attendance.”
Doors, with the correct hardware, play an essential role in providing safety and security to students, teachers, and personnel. Have you ever thought about how many doors you walk through when you enter a school? Was there an open gate when you entered the campus? Was the building’s perimeter door unlocked, so you were able to walk right in? How many doors did you pass before you reached the office? Recently constructed schools are designed to direct the flow of visitors to help control access to the campus. Often, older schools were built to be more accessible, allowing opportunities for non-authorized people to enter freely, without having visitors check-in.
We wrote another blog post about Safe Schools Week in 2014 and discussed blocked egress doors, controlling foot traffic, intruder classroom function locks and wire glass. Since then, unfortunately, there have been more cases of school shootings.
In 2017 Hager partnered with Salto Systems creating the Hager powered by Salto HS4 electronic access control line. HS4 keyless entry solutions range from stand-alone to data-on-card with online and offline access points, to real-time control and updates. As Bill Shockley, our Group Vice President of Sales and Marketing, noted “We wanted to provide customers with an in-depth, customizable, and value-driven access control locking system. Whether you need a solution for a few openings or for 65,000, Hager powered by Salto provides our customers with a single source solution.” The Hager team was excited about the possibilities this partnership brought in additional safety and security opportunities for education projects.
A big issue for any large campus with mechanical locks is lost keys. Anytime a key is lost the integrity of the system is immediately compromised. The advancement of access control technology offers more security and convenience that can solve the lost key dilemma with contactless and mobile credentials. Gordon Holmes, our Product Manager for the HS4 access control product line, wrote an article on balancing security, convenience and budget of access control that was published on the Security Today website in June of 2017. To learn more, we invite you to read the article here.
That same month, Brian Clarke, AHC, CDT, CSI, our Director of Architectural Specifications and Technical Support, wrote an article for DHI Security + Safety Magazine on the solution trends in educational facilities. He discussed the fast-paced evolution of door hardware security along with a warning of solutions hitting the market called “barricade devices” most of which do not meet building codes and could have unintended consequences in the case of an emergency. You can read Brian’s article here. Sadly, while writing the article, Brian received a news alert on his phone about another violent incident at the University of Texas at Austin.
With so-called “barricade devices” being actively marketed we felt it was important to remind people that there are a lot of solutions to secure the perimeter and interior doors of schools and buildings using code compliant door hardware. As director of architectural specifications, Brian wrote two articles on how to keep occupants safe with the use of code-compliant door hardware. Architects and specifiers must keep in mind that any access control, be it mechanical or electronic, must allow free means of egress, fire protection, and accessibility. An accessible means of egress, as defined by the International Building Code (IBC), is a “continued and unobstructed way of egress travel from any point in a building or facility that provides an accessible route to an area of refuge, a horizontal exit, or a public way.” Brian’s article High Use Buildings and the Selection of Code-Compliant Hardware was published in the Construction Specifier in October of 2017 and can be found here. His second article, Access Control: Door Hardware and Code Compliance, was published in DHI Door Security + Safety magazine in January of 2018 and can be found here.
Existing schools may be concerned that installing electronic access control is too costly. Even just a few years ago installing electronic access control would mean having to replace the door and frame and possibly cutting holes into the ceiling or walls to run wires. With the growth and advancement of progressive access control systems, there is now more opportunity to retrofit existing buildings with up-to-date electronic access control systems. Implementing a networked, or online solution eliminates the need for administrators to have to walk to each lock to update the system or download an audit trail. With so many options on the market today it is important for school administrators and facility managers to understand the building’s characteristics and needs in order to choose the system that works best for them. The Right Fit – Choosing the Appropriate Access Control Solution for a Retrofit Application was written by Gordon and published in Security Today in February of 2018.
With more school shootings in the news, our goal is to continue to get the word out that there are code compliant solutions that won’t break a budget. Retrofit or new construction, we believe our HS4 Hager powered by Salto products offer a wide range of solutions that fit your needs, not a solution you have to settle on. Locking Down School Safety and Access Control explains the variety of ways lockdown can be achieved along with the various options. Written by Gordon and published in the DHI Security + Safety Magazine this past July, this article has a lot of information that can assist in determining the best access control system for a school or building.
To break it down even further we published a two-page brochure that explains four basic levels of access control that can be considered for K-12 applications.
As you can see with all these materials, we feel providing door hardware that meet current building codes is essential in all buildings, but especially in schools, where the safety and security of our children are paramount. All the articles and brochures noted can be downloaded and printed for your use. If you need additional information please, don’t hesitate to contact your local sales or architectural representative or our access control department at [email protected].