Students at Virginia Tech during a shooting on the campus in 2007.
The list of school shootings in the United States grows longer each year. But currently, “consensus codes or standards, like those widely used for fire safety, do not exist for use in preventing or effectively managing a school violence incident,” writes NFPA’s principal life safety engineer Ron Coté in his new column in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal. The lack of a standard has led local communities to draft emergency response plans and, in some cases, these well-intentioned plans could have a potentially negative impact on fire safety, Coté writes.
For instance, some plans call for students to be locked inside classrooms to keep a shooter out. However, NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and the other model fire and life safety codes require that doors not be locked so as to prevent egress, Coté writes.
In December, NFPA held a two-day school security workshop to identify these problems and propose solutions. A final report should be available in May and will be widely disseminated.
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