I just noticed an article in the Edinburgh Evening News that was worth sharing. No, I don’t make a habit of reading Scottish newspapers, but thanks to Google I see all kinds of news items involving fire doors.
The article, entitled “Pupil, 5, Escapes From School,” was about a 5-year-old girl who left school through a fire exit and crossed a couple of busy streets before being found 40 minutes later by a passerby and taken home. As the mother of 3 kids (including 4-year-old Norah, who would be a likely escapee), the thought of my kids roaming the streets and hitching a ride home is very scary.
Just as scary, is the school’s solution to the problem:
“In light of the ordeal, a letter informing parents about changes to security was handed out at the end of the school day yesterday. In it, headteacher Marlene Galashan said a new ‘magnetic lock’ would be installed on the playground fire doors within ten days and the side gate would be permanently locked.”
I don’t know what the codes require in Scotland, but in the U.S. it’s not acceptable to lock required exit doors in a school. Electromagnetic locks, referenced in the article, require release devices so that they provide free egress at all times. The more recent editions of the IBC no longer allow delayed egress locks on Educational occupancies, so alarming the doors is the most restrictive tactic to prevent “escape” without a variance from the code official.