Ask the Expert (Access Control)
What should we know about temporary door locking devices?
- By Lori Greene
- September 1st, 2016
Classroom barricade devices, which are
added to existing classroom door openings,
are not compliant with the model fire codes
and building codes used in most U.S. states.
These codes, designed to ensure the safety
of building occupants, require door hardware
that allows free egress, meets the accessibility
standards and does not negatively impact fire
protection. In order for other locking methods
to be allowable by code, the Authority Having
Jurisdiction (AHJ) must approve any devices or
the code must be modified. Even if a local code
change is made, some devices may not meet
the federal requirements of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The reasoning behind proposed changes
is often based on the misconception that
barricading the door is the only way to
protect classroom occupants. There are code-compliant
locks readily available from many
lock manufacturers that provide the needed
security without compromising safety in favor
of lower cost. While locks address one aspect
of classroom security requirements, there are
other factors to consider, such as the door,
frame, glass, key distribution, communication
and lockdown procedures.
An additional concern is the potential for
an unauthorized person to install the barricade
device and secure the classroom in order to
commit a crime. Once in place, many of the devices
currently on the market restrict all access
from the outside, preventing a staff member
or emergency responder from entering the
room to help. Before considering the use of
classroom barricade devices, a consultation
with legal counsel is advised in order to understand
any liability issues that may exist.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.
Lori Greene, DAHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI, FDHI is the manager of Codes & Resources with Allegion.