When discussing code-compliant security with staff from schools and other types of facilities, I’ve heard one comment several times…“If ALICE training [the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, our local police department] advocates the barricading of doors with furniture, why can’t we use the door barricade devices that are now on the market?”
ALICE is the leading active shooter response program in the United States, which provides training to help prepare individuals to handle the threat of an active shooter. The acronym ALICE stands for ALERT, LOCKDOWN, INFORM, COUNTER, and EVACUATE. These steps are not designed to be used sequentially – each may be employed as needed depending on the circumstances.
Barricading is part of the LOCKDOWN portion of the ALICE training. Participants are taught to work together to barricade the door with furniture, which is a portable skill that can be used regardless of where and when the need arises. This tactic is also recommended by many law enforcement agencies, but remember, lockdown is only one of the tools taught by ALICE.
ALICE released a statement last month which clarifies their position on barricading devices.
I firmly believe that facilities should give their staff the ability to lock doors in a code-compliant way, but I understand the need for ALICE training to incorporate methods that can be used in a wide variety of situations. Retrofit security devices may seem like an inexpensive solution, but if the device is not code-compliant, there is a very real possibility that it may not be allowed by the AHJ. Buyer beware.