Shaken by gun violence, more schools around the country are purchasing after market classroom door barricades that attach to the inside of the door, making it next to impossible to enter from the outside during an active shooter event. That’s good news if the sole aim is to keep a bad guy out. But what if the bad guy is already inside a classroom and it’s police or firefighters who can’t get in? What if kids are inside a classroom in lockdown while a fire is set and they need to get out?
This emerging issue is explored in the ‘In a Flash’ section of the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal. The article, “What Price Security,” details NFPA’s efforts to strike a better balance between school security and fire and life safety in existing codes and standards such as NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. To pave the path forward, NFPA held a two-day “School Safety, Codes and Security Workshop” in Maryland last December, bringing together about 70 stakeholders, including firefighters, police officers, architects, security experts, school officials, code enforcers, building managers, and more. A link to the full report from the workshop can be found in the new article.
“What Price Security” also details the controversy with these classroom door barriers in Ohio, where the state legislature passed legislation making it illegal to ban the devices in the state fire code. The law overruled the Ohio Board of Building Standards, which released a detailed report against allowing the door barricades.
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