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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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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Electronic Access Controls on Historic Buildings: Hager Companies Headquarters

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

Historic buildings pose a unique security challenge. By their very nature they are outdated – from the original materials to antique hardware, they exist to showcase just how different things used to be. However, progress has often happened for a reason, and one of the leading reasons is security.

Antique door hardware may have been built to last, manufactured from heavy-duty metals, but modern security issues require more than physical strength. Access credentials, controlled entry, and electronic logging are all emerging as security necessities. Fortunately, electronic access control systems are built to seamlessly and almost invisibly integrate into projects, including historic buildings where authenticity is paramount.

There are several access control systems that feature scalable parts that integrate wirelessly into a central control system with queriable reports, but when the time came to upgrade the Hager headquarters, the obvious choice was HS4, Hager powered by Salto, the security system recently rolled out by Hager Companies.

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Project Profile: The Abilene Wylie ISD Performing Arts Center – Abilene, Texas

Construction began on the new $11.6 million performing arts center in the Spring of 2018.  Initially, electronic access control wasn’t included in the original bid, but the school district decided to add additional security measures after the project broke ground. Adding electronic access control to a construction project after it has begun could cause major scope shift, but with the Hager powered by Salto HS4 system, it wasn’t as difficult as one would think.

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Product Release Announcement – HS4 Narrow Stile Wall Reader

We are pleased to announce the release of the Narrow Stile Wall Reader to add to our growing HS4 electronic access control product line.

The new narrow stile wall reader updates user’s credentials and communicates network updates in both interior and exterior applications. It has the same functions and benefits as our full-size wall readers, but in a petite package to operate in narrow areas such as hollow metal mullions and elevator floor access panels.

To learn more about our Hager powered by Salto HS4 Electronic Access Control product line click here.  To find out if the HS4 system is right for your facility contact your local sales representative or email [email protected]

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Project Profile: The Southerly – Towson, Maryland

 

The Southerly is a multi-family community that offers a contemporary lifestyle with all the modern conveniences.  Besides the high-end amenities like a heated saltwater swimming pool and bocce and cornhole courts, making sure the tenants were safe was a prime consideration when the architects and developer were planning this project.

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Locking Down School Safety and Access Control by Gordon Holmes

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

Locking Down School Safety and Access Control

According to a recent CNN article, In the first 20 weeks of 2018 there have been 22 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed.  This averages out to more than one shooting a week, so it’s no surprise that school security is a growing focus of today’s world.

Since 1999 when the Columbine shooting happened, towns such as Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Blacksburg, Virginia, and more recently Parkland, Florida -are forever etched in our minds because of the senseless violence that occurred there. While we recognize we cannot entirely prevent violence, campuses across America are learning that they can proactively seek solutions to greatly reduce the likelihood of it.

As door and hardware industry experts, it is our responsibility to educate those who make decisions on access points – from school teachers to officials, and from general contractors to architects who make the design and material decisions. It’s our goal to be at the table as early as possible to educate decision makers on their options – and the impact of those options.

Lockdown with Access Control
Lockdown is the ability to prevent access to a segment or segments of a building or the entire facility for security measures. In the school environment, the lockdown can be as small as a classroom or as broad as the entire campus. In addition, the speed of the lockdown is critical and how quickly lockdown is achieved depends on the system installed.

“In the case of access control in a school environment, the first question you should ask is, ‘How do you want your lockdown to work?'” advised James Stokes, Vice-President of Access Controls for Hager Companies.

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DHI ConNextions 2018 – Booth 319

Next week, several members of the Hager Family and team members will head to Baltimore for the annual DHI ConNextions show.

For the Hager team, this show is all about connecting with our customers.  We want to hear what’s new in their lives and businesses; collaborate our efforts in order to grow their sales; and, of course, showcase our new products. In the last year, we’ve released the following products:

We will also have demonstrations with our HS4 Electronic Access Control products including the newest communication platform BLUEnet. We are especially excited by BLUEnet’s ability to provide a real-time (within 4 seconds) lock communication, keeping people safer in an active shooter situation.

 

If you’d like to attend the show but haven’t purchased a pass yet, we have complimentary VIP Exhibit Hall Passes available. Just click on this link and in the Promo Code box type hagevip.

We look forward to seeing you!


 

 

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