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Unfortunately, a problem we continue to face is the unpredictable event of intruders and active shooters within schools and the evolving standard (and laws) around compliant classroom door lockdown devices. Even the best school security system cannot predict these events, and the teachers and children typically don’t have enough time to evacuate in an emergency. Effective classroom lockdowns are necessary to prevent intruders from entering the classroom. Even in these situations, using illegal classroom barricades is never the answer.

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Illegal Classroom Door Lockdown Devices

As of late, many school security systems and improvised door barricade solutions have been portrayed in the media or even put out on the market. Though they seem like an innovative, quick on-site solution, many people do not know that these barricade systems are illegal. Some illegal barricade devices work by blocking the scissor-action door closers at the top of a door. Though this method can secure doors against attackers, it is inaccessible to most students, anyone with a mobility challenge, and students who are shorter than the required span of reach necessary to mount and dismount the devices. Along with that illegal barricade, devices are put into place with the assumption that the assailant will be outside the classroom when the assailant barricades themselves inside with the victims in a variety of cases. This essentially means that a barricade device that is not easily dismountable prevents victims from getting out and first responders from getting in.

An assortment of these improvised barricade systems either fall short of complying with or just wholly disregard building fire safety codes, accessibility requirements, and safety recommendations.

NASFM Classroom Door Security

National Association of State Fire Marshals Regulations on Classroom Door Lockdown Devices:

  1. The door should be lockable from inside the classroom without requiring the door to be opened.
  2. Egress from the classroom through the classroom door should be possible without using a key, a tool, any special knowledge, or effort.
  3. For egress, unlatching the classroom door from inside the classroom should be accomplished with one operation.
  4. The classroom door should be lockable and unlockable from outside the classroom.
  5. Door operating hardware should be operable without tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist.
  6. Door hardware and operable parts should be located between 34 and 48 inches above the floor.
  7. The bottom 10 inches of the “push” side of the door surface should be smooth.
  8. If the school building does not have an automatic fire sprinkler system, the classroom door and door hardware may be required to be fire-rated, and the door should be self-closing and self-latching.
  9. If the door is required to be fire-rated, the door should not be modified in any way that invalidates the fire-rating of the door and door hardware.
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Floor Barricade Systems

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NOT mounted 34-48 inches above the floor

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NOT able to be used with ease by both handicapped individuals in wheelchairs and those using walkers

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NOT able to be unlocked from the outside

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NOT dismantlable without special knowledge or effort

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NOT operable with one hand

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NOT compliant with fire-rating

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Mid-Mounted Barricade Systems

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NOT able to be unlocked from the outside

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NOT dismantlable without special knowledge or effort

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NOT operable with one hand

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NOT compliant with fire-rating

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​Door-Closer Barricade Systems

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NOT mounted 34-48 inches above the floor

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NOT easily usable by both individuals in wheelchairs and those using walkers

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NOT able to be unlocked from the outside

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NOT dismantlable without special knowledge or effort

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NOT operable with one hand

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NOT compliant with fire-rating

Accessibility and security are becoming a conflict within K-12 schools due to these Classroom Door Lockdown Devices. Parents, law enforcement, and school administrators are fighting against fire marshals, code officials, and the disabled community. Keeping children safe needs to be the ultimate goal of all of these debates, but violating building codes and Federal Accessibility Laws cannot be the way to achieve this. Statistics have shown that there are more school fires than school shooters. So, schools must not implement a hazardous system and block escape routes in case of a fire. Yet, we do not want to diminish the importance of devices that will safeguard classrooms against active shooters and intruders. Educational facilities simply must use devices that are still compliant with fire codes and disability act laws.

 

The Best Classroom Door Lockdown Devices

Luckily, retrofitted classroom door lockdown devices exist that are designed to enable all occupants, including those with disabilities, to quickly evacuate an educational facility during a fire, bomb threat, active shooter attack, and a variety of other evacuation situations.

The retrofitted classroom lock features an enhanced visual indicator and is designed for classroom doors locked by a key from the exterior; it can quickly lock down classroom doors from inside without using a key. This device falls in line with safety codes and can be operated by members of the handicapped community.

classroom-door-lockdown-devices

Single-button push-to-lock

Does NOT require rekeying of the lock

Single lever pull for interior egress

Exterior key entry for first responders and administration staff

Existing doors swing into the hallway with a mortise lock, and cylindrical locks swing into the classroom

This innovative lock technology consists of single-motion egress and key access, which allows the focus to remain on security and evacuating, rather than figuring out complicated mechanisms or forcing students to improvise by pushing desks and chairs to barricade the door. Its components consist of a stainless-steel emergency deadbolt, as well as a simple red button that can be easily and discreetly pushed to secure the classroom in case of an emergency. Along with that, the lock remains secure even if the door handle breaks off because of its vandal-resistant-slip-clutch-lever. These classroom door lockdown devices do not require network connectivity, electronics, or heavy wiring and can be installed on a door-by-door basis. However, it certainly can be access control equipped if that is what your facility desires. On its own, this classroom door lockdown device is more expensive than the previously mentioned (illegal) door barricades but is significantly less costly if you were comparing it to a complete access control system.

Door Barricade Devices for Classroom Lockdowns

A classroom lockdown device is the most cost-effective, retrofitted door barricade for existing doors to keep them compliant and safe. It is an excellent classroom lockdown solution that can easily be equipped onto the majority of existing doors. Educational facilities can lockdown classrooms instantly and with ease with this barricade lock, ultimately integrating the best way for their students, faculty, and staff to stay safe within their facility in an emergency. On top of all that, your facility will be avoiding the use of illegal classroom barricades.

This article was updated on March 26th, 2021, by Umbrella Technologies.

Classroom Door Lockdown Solutions FAQ Sheet

Get a Free Copy of the 6 Page FAQ Sheet on Classroom Door Lockdown Devices.  What Technology to use, avoid and what Security Professionals recommend. 

 

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