Fire-Rated Openings with Electronic Access Control and Low-Energy Power Operators

This article appears in this month’s issue of the DHI Door Security + Safety Magazine and was reprinted here with their permission.

Balancing the need to protect property and keep lives safe while still meeting code requirements.

The mission of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is “[being] devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards,” and NFPA does this, in part, with its 300 codes and standards.

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Best Practices for Thresholds, Weatherstripping, and Fire Safety by Dan White

This article appears in the June issue of the DHI Security + Safety Magazine and is reprinted here with their permission.

An array of products installed in commercial buildings affect life safety, many of which require a UL listing. While not the largest or most glamorous materials, thresholds, weatherstripping, and gasketing products serve as barriers to fire and smoke inhalation, and while small in size, they are some of the biggest contributors to preserving life.

What is the UL Label?
Underwriters Laboratories, LLC (UL) has been around for more than 125 years and is known across multiple industries as a leader in global safety. Their simple mission, “Working for a safer world since 1894,” is at the core of everything they do. According to their website, “We conscientiously advance safety science through careful research and investigation, applying our efforts to prevent or reduce loss of life and property and to promote safe living and working environments for all people.”[1]

UL certifications can be found on hundreds of building material products, including door assemblies. “Our fire safety team evaluates a wide range of products for fire resistance and performance, including door frames, locks, closers, hinges, and other door accessories,” notes the UL website.[2]

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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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Understanding Today’s Access Control Solutions

This article appears in the February issue of the DHI Security + Safety Magazine and is reprinted here with their permission.

Electronic access control systems offer an effective way to control and manage access for facilities large and small. From retail and office space to education, government, healthcare, and multifamily complexes, today’s systems are versatile enough to not only meet current needs but also have the ability to expand in the future – giving you and your clients the peace of mind of knowing they are making a sound investment.

Electronic access control technology delivers value beyond security and safety by also providing valuable business intelligence – allowing you to monitor who is entering and leaving your facilities, time and duration of visits, traffic flow and more.

TYPES OF ACCESS CONTROL TECHNOLOGY
Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all answer doesn’t work with today’s designs, access control technology is a diverse solution to secure any new or existing facility. Here’s an overview of three types of electronic access control solutions.

Stand-Alone Access Control
With stand-alone access control technology, all the decisions are made at the lock, by the lock. A stand-alone lock needs to be told what access to be given, so if a company wants to add – or delete – a user, they must physically go to the lock to reprogram it using a handheld device.

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Latch Protectors

Being a door hardware manufacturer we are passionate about security. Keeping a door shut and locked plays an important role in keeping people safe. When you hear “security” you may be envisioning a lot of different equipment like cameras, card readers, and maybe even grilles over doors and windows. Hager offers several levels of door hardware security options, but depending on your facility some simple, first steps, may be a better choice.

In the photos below you’ll notice a metal plate that runs vertically along the seam of the pair of doors, by the lockset. This metal plate is called a latch protector and they are available in a wide range of sizes, finishes, and shapes so they can be installed or retrofitted to most locks on both single and pairs of doors.

While we don’t recommend this application, we appreciate the effort of the building owner to resolve a security issue on an existing pair of doors.

This piece of hardware is designed to deter forced entry through door prying, kick-ins, and other actions to gain unauthorized access. Latch protectors provide simple protection from break-ins that is easy to install and is a low-cost first step in a line of defense.  Door openings where latch protectors may be useful include exterior entry, storage, equipment, or any opening where you need a little extra bit of security.

For more information about our latch protection products or any of our many other security products please contact your local sales representative or our customer service department at 800-255-3590.

 

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New Accessories for the Roton® Continuous Geared Hinge Product Line

In keeping with our promise to provide products that enhance the safety and security of our customers, Hager Companies announces the new TIPIT® and the newly designed Hospital Tip for our Roton® Continuous Hinge product line.

TIPIT®
This product was designed specifically with safety in mind. When door openings are fitted with the patented TIPIT® in conjunction with our Roton Continuous Geared Hinge, this combination provides a safe environment while meeting institutional requirements for preventing objects from being hung from the top of the hinge.

Made from durable, high-tech polymer the TIPIT® securely fastens to the door frame header using the included #10 TORX® SST security screws. Offered in two models, Concealed and Full Surface and two finished, Gray and Black. Suitable for both retrofit and new construction applications in the following vertical markets: Hospitals, Correctional facilities, Schools, Rehabilitation centers, and other institutions.

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Why is the Bottom Rod Missing?

Have you ever come across a pair of doors that have just a top vertical rod exit device and not top and bottom, and wondered why? Often an architect or specification writer will specify “less bottom rod (LBR)” on pairs of doors, especially in healthcare facilities.

This photo was taken in an assisted living facility here in St. Louis. This opening is a pair of fire rated corridor doors which means they must positively latch in case of a fire to control flames and smoke from traveling through the facility. Without latching hardware on the exit device itself, positive latching is accomplished with the surface mounted top vertical rod. As you can see from the picture, the door is being held open with a magnetic hold open tied into the fire alarm. If the fire alarm is activated the hold open will release the door. The door closer will swing the door shut and the top vertical rod will latch the door.

This leads us to the question of why the architect or specification writer specified LBR. While the top and bottom vertical rods help secure the door, the bottom vertical rod is secured to a floor strike mounted in the floor. That floor strike can become a tripping hazard to people that use mobility devices, such as canes, walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs. ADA regulation 404.2.10, Door and Gate Surfaces, states: “Swing door and gate surfaces within 10 inches (255mm) of the finish floor or ground measured vertically shall have a smooth surface on the push side extending the full width of the door or gate.” The regulation goes on to specify how thick protection plates and installation screws can be.

This installation is a textbook example of the intersection of fire code and ADA regulations. The goal is to keep people safe both from fire and tripping. When architects and door hardware professionals work together, the result can be a safe, attractive and code compliant facility.

For assistance in writing door hardware specifications please contact Brian Clarke at [email protected]. For information regarding our products please contact our customer service team at 800-255-3590 or your local sales representative.

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Texas Society of Architects Show – 2018

Next week several team members will be representing Hager in booth 142 at the Texas Society of Architects Design Expo Show in Fort Worth, Texas.  The attendance at the show is excellent, and we greatly appreciate all the members that make a point of stopping by to say thank you.

This year we will be highlighting our electronic access control line, HS4 – Hager powered by Salto.

The HS4 access control system is a suite of modular products that give architects the ability to provide different levels of security and safety that fit a range of budgets to meet the owner and facility’s needs. Recognizing a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work in today’s designs, HS4 has the ability to diversely secure an existing or new facility and expand with future growth.

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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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