Classroom Barricade Devices

Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous news articles from across the country referencing school security initiatives and several discussed the use of classroom barricade devices. As a door hardware manufacturer, this is concerning because these types of devices often do not meet life safety or fire codes requiring free egress, fire protection, or ADA accessibility.

In March of this year, the Bremen Public School District, located in Indiana, developed a new school safety initiative plan. Several levels of security are being added, including upgrading their card access system. Unfortunately, in the article that reported these upgrades, it stated “the safety plan also includes the addition of a classroom barricade device. The devices are magnetic and slide onto the back piece of the door to barricade the door and keep intruders from entering a classroom if they break the lock. The devices are already being distributed to classrooms.”¹

In 2018, the State of Indiana released a School Safety Recommendations document which specifically included verbiage on classroom door hardware.

Under Recommendation #11
“Replace classroom door hardware to ensure fire and building code compliance. The door must lock from the inside and not restrict exiting or egress from the classroom or building. This could reduce the number of non-compliant tactics being used (such as magnets) to allow easier re-entry access by students during class time.”²

Another recent news article described how a former lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln began to discuss procedures to be followed in the event of an active shooter situation. However, before the lecturer began speaking, he noticed that the classroom doors did not have locks on the inside of the doors.

Concerned, the lecturer did reach out to the University’s Facilities Service advising them of this safety concern and suggestions on how to fix it, including the use of deadbolts. The article went on to share that the concerns were forward to the UNL’s Police Department’s Assistant Chief of Police, who in turn, did reply that deadbolts were not a viable solution as “fire code prohibits the use of deadbolts in classroom spaces.”³ Listening to officials who understand building and life safety codes is vital in having code-compliant hardware.

The 2018 edition of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes in Chapter 15 for Existing Education Occupancies:

15.2.2.4 Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry
Classroom doors shall be permitted to be locked to prevent unwanted entry provided that the locking means is approved and all the following conditions are met:

  1. The locking means shall be capable of being engaged without opening the door.
  2. The unlocking and unlatching from the classroom side of the door can be accomplished without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
  3. The releasing mechanism for unlocking and unlatching shall be located at a height not less than 34 in. *865 mm) and not exceeding 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor.
  4. Locks, if remotely engaged, shall be unlockable from the classroom side of the door without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
  5. The door shall be capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with the necessary key or other credentials.
  6. The locking means shall not modify the door closer, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware.
  7. Modifications to the fire door assemblies, including door hardware, shall be in accordance with NFPA 80.
  8. The emergency action plan, required by 15.7.1, shall address the use of the locking and unlocking means from within and outside the room.
  9. Staff shall be drilled in the engagement and release of the locking means, from within and outside the room, as part of the emergency egress drills required by 15.7.2.

The Bremen School District disregarded NFPA Life Safety Code and their own state’s recommendations. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s assistant police chief was correct in noting deadbolts would not meet code, however the article didn’t share any further information whether solutions were provided for locking the interior side of the classroom doors.

In Massachusetts, a lawsuit was recently filed by the Lenox Public School District (near Boston) against the town of Lenox, the Massachusetts Building Code Appeals Board, and the local building inspector for requiring the school to remove the barricades devices they purchased as they do not meet Life Safety or Fire codes.

With the advent of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, information and misinformation are difficult to categorize or research. Many educators and the public may not understand the challenges classroom barricade devices present.

Selecting proper security for emergency egress, while meeting building codes can be challenging. It is important to remember that building codes are in place for a reason. The NFPA gathered statistics on school fires with 10 or more deaths. The last major school fire happened in 1958 in Chicago, IL, where ninety students and three nuns lost their lives during a fire at the Our Lady of the Angels School. We all can agree that keeping our children safe is our number one priority.

After each major incident, we learn how to better improve buildings to keep people safer. Following the Columbine tragedy that happened 20 years ago on April 20th, a new lock function was introduced called the intruder classroom function, that allows mechanical control of the outside lever via a key from either the interior and exterior side of the door. A standard classroom function lock is controlled by a key in the outside cylinder, which locks or unlocks the outside lever. The intruder classroom function allows a person to lock the door with a key from inside the room rather than stepping out into the hallway. Today, there are many more code-compliant options available.

The Door Security + Safety Foundation has gathered many resources for how to combine safety and security on their Lock Don’t Block website. These include articles, white papers, and other documents from organizations such as Safe and Sound Schools, Pass – Partner Alliance for Safer Schools, The School Superintendent Association, and the National Association of State Fire Marshals, among others.

The advancement of technology has introduced several electronic access control solutions. Online locks no longer need to be hardwired making installation easier and less expensive. Obviously, we feel our HS4 electronic hardware solution is the best, but our hope is to educate school districts, parents, and facility maintenance personnel that there is cost-effective code-compliant hardware available. We do not feel barricade devices are an acceptable solution for school security, due to possible unintended consequences.  We can help you design a safe school security system that meets building and life safety codes.

For more information on our HS4 Hager powered by Salto Electronic Access Control Solutions please contact your local sales representative or email [email protected] .

¹ Indiana District Develops School Safety Initiative Plan 
² 2018 Indiana School Safety Recommendations
³ The Gray Area of Classroom Locks

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DHI Leadership Development Xperience (LDX)

This week’s blog post was written by Doug Laflamme with Smoot Associates, our sales representatives in the Massachusets, New Hampshire area about his experience at the DHI Leadership Development Xperience.

A month ago, I had the chance to attend the DHI Leadership Development Xperience held at DHI headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia.  At the time I was not sure what to expect, but I thought it would be a good experience for me being so new to the industry.  Thankfully my place of work is very supportive of DHI and allowed me to take the time to go (Thanks Bill).

Photo courtesy of DHI

The conference was filled with things I expected such as helpful insight on the future of DHI, new credentials and resources, and group brainstorming sessions.  LDX also opened our minds to things I was not expecting, things like how we can increase members in our chapter and where we as members could take the new DHI. LDX was full of ideas, and activities to help us think outside the box when it comes to how our chapters could be run, as well as videos, plans and collaborative thinking about leadership, things that make a great leader and how to become one of those leaders.  It also taught us that there is no right or wrong way to run our chapter and its ok to run our chapters differently than it has been run in the past.

Perhaps the most important and overlooked portion of the conference that I did not realize before I went on this trip is all the great people I would be able to meet and the relationships with those people I was able to build.  It was great to meet people in our industry from other parts of the country, put faces to names, as well learn a little more about the people I interact with through emails so often.  I also got to spend some time with my chapters DHI President Jim White and get to know him better as well.  This was the part of LDX that was most important to me.  I believe the relationships we build in this industry to invaluable.

Photo courtesy of DHI

The DHI Leadership Development Xperience was a truly great experience that left us invigorated with new ideas and fresh wind in our sails ready to take back to our local chapter.  I would recommend the DHI Leadership conference to anyone who has the opportunity to attend.

Thanks, Doug for sharing your experience! Hager Companies has had a corporate membership with DHI for decades and our President and COO, Josh Hager, currently sits on the Board of Governors.

 

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Safe Schools Week October 21-27, 2018

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.

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A Review of DHI ConNextions 2018

Have you had a chance to catch your breath?  What an amazing few days in Baltimore at DHI ConNextions.  One of the best things about being in the Door and Hardware Industry is the fact it’s a relatively small group of people. Typically, at one point or another in our careers, we have either worked with or have known of one another for many years.  So, when we attend and exhibit at ConNextions it really is like a family reunion.

Hager had a lot of representation both from St. Louis headquarters, including the Hager Family, and our wonderful sales representatives.

Wednesday many team members attended the keynote presentation “Beyond Tragedy: Response and Recovery in a School Based Crisis”. The speaker was Michele Gay, a mother and former teacher, who helped founded Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative.  It was a powerful presentation about her day on December 14, 2012, when her daughter was one of 26 people who was shot at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  Her strength and courage were felt throughout the room.  Her words reignited our mission to provide great products at a fair price with exceptional customer service to keep occupants of buildings safe and secure.

Michele Gay with Safe and Sound Schools

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School Security and Safety since Columbine

18 years ago the Columbine school shooting shook the world with images of students filing out of school buildings in single file with hands raised, SWAT teams surrounding the school, and the stark terror on the faces of the students and teachers. For the security and safety community, it renewed efforts to keep our most cherished citizens safe.

School security has increased tremendously since the Columbine tragedy. A direct result was the introduction of the classroom security function. In order to secure a traditional classroom function lock, a person had to step out into the hallway from the classroom and use a key to secure the door opening. With the introduction of the classroom security function, the lock is able to be secured from the interior of the room.

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The DSSF / Hager Companies Scholarship Winner!

We have always felt educating the next generation is an important aspect of our business and industry. Offering continuing education to our team members through the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), among other organizations on key programs related to safety and security issues is another key step.

DHI’s Safety & Security Foundation (DSSF) also encourages and attracts new talent to the industry and gives them the training, tools and education to help them be successful. It was an easy decision to partner with the Foundation and establish the Hager Companies Scholarship.

This year we congratulate Alison Nugent, a senior detailer with DH Pace in Olathe, Kansas as the winner of the Hager Companies Scholarship! Alison answered a few questions DHI put forth to all the winners in November’s issue of Doors + Hardware Magazine and we wanted to share her responses here.

How did you get started in the door and hardware industry?
I returned from a summer internship in the United Kingdom and was looking for a full-time position.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I enjoy providing a service that helps create functional buildings that meet the needs of people who use them every day. While the industry can be challenging, I enjoy being a technical resource for architects and general contractors.

How do you de-stress?
I de-stress by cleaning and organizing things. I also enjoy exercising and playing sports.

If you weren’t a door security and safety professional, what would you be?
I would work in a position in the sports industry. I grew up playing a lot of sports and I am a big sports fan.

Who is your mentor/hero?
My mentor was my late co-worker Steve Holden. Steve had over 30 years’ experience in this industry and was full of knowledge. He was an incredible resource and person and I am thankful for everything he taught me.

What is your advice to someone considering taking DHI technical education?
The DHI technical education is a big commitment, but worth the effort. While it can seem overwhelming, focus on completing one class at a time. That has helped me stay motivated to achieve my overall goal.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Something that my family, friends, teachers and co-workers have all shared: Do not be afraid to ask questions.” Asking questions demonstrates a desire to learn and grow. I have learned a lot by asking questions and will continue to do that throughout my career.

Congratulations and wishing you continued success Alison! You can read about all the winners on DSSF website here.

 

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Classroom Barricade Devices

We had another post planned but felt this was more important to share.

This video has surfaced on Facebook. It currently has 3,552,279 views, 122,560 shares, 21,189 likes and 1,153 comments.  These are the type of devices that those of us in the hardware industry are fighting against.

Facebook / Future X - via Iframely

 

From the comments it is evident that people don’t understand the dangers these devices can contribute too. If you have a moment we encourage you to comment on the Facebook post to help education the general population.

Here are links to additional information as to why barricade devices are not a good choice.

National Association of State Fire Marshals – Classroom Door Security Guidelines

Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) – White Paper on Classroom Barricade Devices

Classroom Barricade Devices and why focusing on them makes us vulnerable to threats

Expert says many of these products are not code compliant and could nullify the warrantees of locks and door hardware.

What Price Security?

Classroom Door Security

 

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