Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Mar 17 2015

NASFM: Classroom Door Security and Locking Hardware

I know I’ve been writing a lot about school security lately (and I will have a few more pieces in the near future before I take a break from this topic), but this issue extends far beyond one state or even one type of facility.  The debates over the use of barricade devices have turned political, threatening the codes that help to ensure life safety, and the code officials that enforce those codes.

Bills were recently filed in the Ohio House and Senate, which are described as:

A BILL To amend section 3737.84 and to enact section 3781.106 of the Revised Code to require the Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of a barricade device on a school door in an emergency situation and to prohibit the State Fire Code from prohibiting the use of the device in such a situation.

In other recent proceedings the state fire marshal voiced “strong objections” to pending legislation regarding barricade devices, and the legislators unanimously approved the bill anyway (much more on this tomorrow).

Fire marshals and building code officials play a critical role in the safety of building occupants, and they need support from others who understand the value of code requirements affecting free egress, fire protection, and accessibility.  The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has posted a document on their website which offers that support, by providing guidance on the use of classroom door security and locking hardware.  The 6-page document includes a suggested classroom door checklist, with code references for each item on the list.

The introduction reads, in part:

“When considering the selection of hardware which allows classroom doors to be lockable from inside the classroom, consideration should be given to the risks and potential consequences of utilizing a device which blocks the classroom door from the inside. For example, devices which prevent classroom doors from being unlocked and openable from outside the classroom may place the inhabitants of the room in peril. In addition to the requirement that classroom doors must be unlatchable in a single motion from inside the classroom, these doors should always be unlockable and openable from outside the classroom by authorized persons.”

I urge you to download the NASFM guidance document and share it with your code officials as needed.

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4 Responses to “NASFM: Classroom Door Security and Locking Hardware”

  1. Chuck Park says:

    Is there anything that folks outside of Ohio can do to help defeat this bill?

    • Lori says:

      I’m not sure. There will be a hearing soon, and I know that there will be a lot of people there in support of the code requirements. I think what we all could be doing is keeping an eye on things in the states where we live and work, to make sure that we can stay on top of this.

  2. Eric Andrews says:

    Those of us in Ohio can easily contact our state senators using the links below and searching by zip code:

    When contacting your Ohio legislator, please make sure you communicate which part of SB125 you have issues with. As with most legislature, there are multiple un-related issues covered in the same bill.

  3. Secure Schools Alliance | Blog Topic: Classroom Safety says:

    […] the use of the devices, they do not comply with the current Ohio codes, the guidelines from the National Association of State Fire Marshals, or the recent report from the Ohio Board of Building […]

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