When the Ohio budget bill was passed in late June, including the bill on classroom barricade devices which had been rolled into the budget bill late in the process, many news reports described the plans of school districts to take their barricade devices out of storage and install them in each classroom. One of these articles, called Bearacade meets law in spite of standard board’s position, includes a quote from one of the owners of the company that manufactures a barricade device – the Bearacade: “Cushwa said the ‘report’ by the Ohio’s building standards board is more ceremonial than applicable to schools since Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 64 into law at the end of June allowing barricades in classrooms.”
Some school districts and manufacturers of barricade devices believed that the new law legalized the use of all barricade devices in Ohio classrooms – it did not. The law requires the Ohio Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of the devices. We don’t know what those rules are going to be yet – maybe the BBS will require a listed product to be used, or a product that requires only one operation to release. Maybe the rules will require the device to be deployed without opening the door and exposing the teacher to danger in the hallway, or a product that allows access from the outside using a key or other credential. Until we know what the rules are, there is no way to know whether any particular barricade device meets those rules. I would think that with the concerns shared in the final report of the BBS, the rules would include some requirements to provide the necessary level of life safety.
The Ohio Department of Commerce has just issued a guidance document to help schools understand the next steps in the process. I received the document as an attachment to this email:
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ISSUES GUIDANCE ON BARRICADE DEVICES TO EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES THROUGHT STATE
The Ohio Department of Commerce today issued a guidance document concerning the development of rules for the use of barricade devices in an active shooter situation at Ohio schools and higher education facilities. Schools are being cautioned against purchasing and deploying devices before the rules take effect as some devices currently on the market may not be allowable once new rules are adopted.
Ohio House Bill 64, the vehicle for the state operating budget for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017, included a requirement for the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) to adopt rules for the use of barricade devices that would prevent both ingress and egress through classroom doors in an active shooter situation. The bill states that these rules must be in place by March, 2016.
“We want to clear up any uncertainty or concerns Ohio’s educators have regarding these barricade devices,” Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jaqueline T. Williams said. “Developing the necessary rules with the help of parents, school officials, law enforcement, fire professionals and the building industry, we feel confident that the rules we will develop will provide for an environment where our children can feel safe.”
BBS is in the initial stages of the rule development process and will be meeting with stakeholders throughout the process. These rules will establish the guidelines for what devices that are currently being marketed, or developed in the future, will be authorized.
Anyone with questions about these or other building code requirements for schools can contact:
Ohio Board of Building Standards
6606 Tussing Road
P.O. Box 4009
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
(614) 644 2613
The guidance document, which describes current code requirements and cautions schools against purchasing or using the devices at this time, can be downloaded here.
Thank you to the multiple people who sent me the document!