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Mar 04 2015

WW: Special Knowledge and Effort

Category: Egress,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 12:32 am Comments (29)

Most egress doors are required to be readily openable with no special knowledge or effort. The door must unlatch with one operation, and the operable hardware must be mounted between 34 inches and 48 inches above the floor. There are several problems with this Wordless Wednesday dutch door found at a cell phone store:

Cell Phone Store 1 Cell Phone Store 2

Posted by Richard Minfield on the Truck Floor Training Facebook page, and shared here with permission.

Mar 02 2015

Decoded: 2015 IBC Roundtable

Category: Accessibility,Egress,Fire Doors,NewsLori @ 9:27 pm Comments (0)

If you are a member of the New England Chapter of DHI I hope you already know about this upcoming class, but in case you didn’t get the memo…I will be teaching a code class next week along with Jeff Batick, Greg DeGirolamo, Paul Goldense, and Jim White.  This class will be available for other DHI chapters to teach, as long as there are a few members who can act as facilitators.  If you’re interested in hosting the class, drop me an email and I’ll get you in touch with the right person at DHI.  We are using the 2015 IBC for next week’s class, but it could be taught using other editions of the IBC if necessary.  The class is worth 9 DHI CEP points, with 4 additional points for the facilitators.

If you’re a member of the New England Chapter and haven’t signed up yet – what are you waiting for?!  Here’s the meeting notice:


Meeting and Educational Session Notice


Thursday March 12, 2015

Educational Session 2:00PM to 5:00PM

Social Time Starts at 5:30pm

Dinner Starts at 6:30pm

Chapter Business and our Speaker Follow Dinner


The Chateau Restaurant

95 Turnpike Road,

Westborough, MA 01581

Educational Session:

Here in New England, we are very fortunate to have such a high level codes expert, and someone who is willing to share her time with us. I’m referring to Lori Greene of course. Lori is going to lead a team of highly qualified professionals for an afternoon of spirited code discussion. Here’s a synopsis of the session in Lori’s own words;

Several New England states have recently adopted new codes or are in the process of doing so.  It’s time for a code update, and this time we’ll be using a roundtable format.  Facilitated by Jim White, Paul Goldense, Jeff Batick, Greg DeGirolamo, and Lori Greene, we’ll work through some common code questions and learn where to find the information and how to interpret the requirements.  Additional questions will be discussed during the Q&A session, so come and find out what’s new; don’t be caught by surprise when working in a jurisdiction where new codes have been adopted.  CEP points will be available for those participating in DHI’s Continuing Education Program. 

We’ll be using the 2015 edition of the International Building Code, the 2015 edition of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code, the 2013 edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, and the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.  We will also discuss differences in other editions of the codes and standards, so the class will be relevant to jurisdictions where the newest editions are not yet in use.  If you have these codes and standards in hard copy or PDF (or other codes that are used in your state), bring them with you.  If you do not have these publications, materials will be provided for use during the class.

As you can see, we have a great panel of facilitators, and they are generously giving their time for all our benefit. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in joining us for this afternoon of learning.

Evening Meeting Speaker and Topic

For our evening meeting, we welcome speaker Mary Kimball, the New England Representative of SaftiFirst Fire Rated Glass and Framing Systems. Mary brings years of experience (I’ll let her tell you how many…), and a wealth of knowledge of the Glass and Framing Manufacturing Industry. Mary will discuss what’s new in interior and exterior glass, and explain the incredibly wide array of products that are now available in this fast growing market (fire protection, temperature rise, hurricane, ceramic, ballistic, etc.). You’ll be amazed with what can be done with glass, while maintaining high end architectural appeal. (Please check out SaftiFirst’s website before attending the meeting at

The afternoon codes session, and the meeting both take place at The Chateau Restaurant. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Bert Sullivan

New England Chapter President of DHI

FYI – The meeting dates for the balance of the year are May 21st, Sept 17th, Dec 10th

Reserve Your Spot!

The cost for the dinner and the evening meeting is $40 per person.  The afternoon code update is FREE!  You may pay by check or cash at the meeting.

Credit cards may only be used through the New England Chapter website.

RSVPs must be received no later than March 7th for the evening meeting.  Space is limited for the afternoon code session, so please respond asap.

To register, visit the New England Chapter website, or email a list of attendees and the company name to Bert Sullivan.  Please indicate whether each person will attend the afternoon code update, the dinner and evening meeting, or both the afternoon and evening events.

Mar 02 2015

The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio schools can’t use barricades to keep gunmen out

Category: Egress,School SecurityLori @ 12:57 am Comments (13)

The current situation in Ohio could result in a major blow to the codes that protect building occupants, unless lawmakers recognize the importance of code-compliant egress.  For anyone who needs to catch up…

Upholding the code requirements that ensure free egress seems like a very reasonable decision made by the board.  But most of the media reports describe classrooms left unprotected when code officials enforce a code that some feel is outdated and needs to be changed.  Will lawmakers uphold the codes that have been protecting us for decades, or will they modify state laws to satisfy the parents and teachers who are pushing for a change that would sacrifice free egress in favor of inexpensive locking methods?

There are many code-compliant locks available today which allow free egress, can be locked without opening the classroom door, and allow authorized access from the ingress side (code change proposals submitted for the 2018 IBC and IFC would require this if approved).  Yes, these locks may cost more than some of the barricade devices, but most of the retrofit devices don’t allow free egress, can not be accessed by staff or first responders from the ingress side, do not meet accessibility standards, and may be used by an unauthorized person to secure the classroom.

If a code change is made because the cost of the code-compliant products is too high, we’re headed down a slippery slope.  In my opinion, free egress should not be compromised to avoid paying for code-compliant security.  What do you think?

Some of the recent news…


State rejects school district’s appeal to use barricades – Akron Beacon Journal

Members of a central Ohio community said they’re frustrated with the state’s decision to keep schools from using security barricades intended to stop a gunman.

After parents raised $30,000 to buy intruder-defense systems for the Southwest Licking school district, they were told the devices violate Ohio’s Building Code. The district appealed, but the Board of Building Appeals within the Ohio Department of Commerce this week voted down the use of the barricades.

The active-shooter training received by the school district last year encouraged using barricades to stop a gunman. Southwest Licking Superintendent Robert Jennell told The Advocate in Newark that the ruling means schools have one less safeguard against an active shooter.


Ohio rejects school district’s appeal to use security barricades – The Morning Journal

“We’re not allowed to barricade our doors,” he said. “That’s basically just short of telling us ‘Don’t follow the advice outlined in active shooter training.’ “

The state’s ruling also called into question similar barricade devices used by Mentor and Madison school districts in Northeast Ohio, according to WEWS-TV. Mentor Fire Chief Bob Searles said he’s hopeful the state fire marshal will consider changing classroom fire codes.

Several districts in the Cincinnati area had also explored using barricade devices last fall.


Ohio school barred from using barricade devices – Telegraph-Forum

A recent state ruling barred an Ohio school district from using portable door barricades to stop potential school intruders. That could prove problematic for schools using similar devices across the state.

The appeal came from the Southwest Licking Local School District, which intended to place the small devices in every classroom. The Barracuda Intruder Defense Systems can be placed across classroom doors in the case of emergency to lock them from the inside.

However, a 4-1 ruling from the Ohio Board of Building Appeals stopped the district, at least for the time being.

School officials had appealed to the state board after the county building department said the Barracuda Intruder Defense System prevented people from leaving a room without a key or special knowledge — a violation of state building code.

The codes were created to protect the welfare and safety of the public so they can quickly exit a building in an emergency, Ohio Department of Commerce spokesman Matt Mullins said.


Editorial: Blocking school barricades endangers students – Newark Advocate

During the state’s ALICE safety training for school shooting situations, it’s become clear that the best method for saving lives is to securely block classrooms. It’s far more effective than other tactics, including asking staff to throw items at a shooter. And as one parent noted to us, public safety experts all recommend barricading doors.

“The (state) attorney general, the FBI, even Homeland Security, tell schools to barricade doors, and for some reason the (state) Department of Commerce has not caught up,” Erin West said.

So, it’s time for state lawmakers to step in and change state law to allow schools to install door barricades and use them during any situation where student safety is threatened.

So we call on our local lawmakers — state Sen. Jay Hottinger and state Reps. Scott Ryan and Bill Hayes — to work with the colleagues and update Ohio law as quickly as possible.

We can’t imagine the blame many would face if the unthinkable happened without these barriers in use.


Ohio schools can’t use barricades to keep gunmen out – The Columbus Dispatch

Hottinger said he has spoken to Flowers several times about the situation, most recently at Tuesday’s State of the State speech.

“I asked him, ‘Would you really levy fines (on schools) that used door barricades in the case of an active shooter?’ It’s not illegal to have them, just to use them. He said, ‘Absolutely not.’ But, he said, ‘It’s a big liability if they’re used inappropriately.’ What’s to keep a student from using a barricade and then assaulting a teacher or raping a student?”

Hottinger said he plans to schedule another meeting to bring more people into the decision-making process, including the Department of Public Safety and the State Highway Patrol.

“At the end of the day, I’m confident that we will come to the conclusion that barricading doors is a proper solution against an active shooter,” he said.

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