Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Dec 10 2015

NFPA Journal: What Price Security?

Category: Egress,School SecurityLori @ 12:47 am Comments (1)

Every December I weed through my inbox so I can start fresh in the new year.  I get A LOT of email…my inbox is currently down to only 525 emails waiting for some sort of action on my part.  I just found an email that included a link to an article from NFPA Journal about the use of barricade devices.  I’m sorry I didn’t post it sooner, but since it does a great job of discussing the issue from NFPA’s perspective, here it is…


School room exit blocked with desk and chairs for a lockdown exerciseShaken by acts of violence, schools are implementing new measures to keep shooters and other intruders out. Can security and fire safety coexist?  By Jesse Roman

A POLICE OFFICER VIOLENTLY BANGS on a classroom door with a sledgehammer, knocking off the latch, but the door barely budges. He repeatedly wedges a breaching tool into place, prying the door from the side and from beneath, but the metal doorjamb inside the classroom holds. No one, at least with conventional tools, is getting in.

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Photo: NFPA Journal

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One Response to “NFPA Journal: What Price Security?”

  1. John Payson says:

    Many of the people pushing for the installation of barricade devices are seeking to protect lives, not just property, so I think the title is a little unfair; it would be more appropriate if e.g. a museum in a balloon-frame building without sprinklers wanted to install timed-egress locks outside top-floor exhibits.

    IMHO, the real question should be whether students are being exposed to significant real risks in an effort to protect them from largely-imaginary risks.

    Over the last half-century, there have been major developments both in improving the speed of egress and in extending the amount of time people can survive within a burning building. It seems that the vast majority of large-casualty events occur in places where buildings had neither improvement; how many casualties occur in places which have working sprinklers and fire doors, but poor egress?

    The biggest danger I can see with the barricade devices is that they would allow a student who takes
    over a classroom to keep out any outsiders who would want to stop him. Dangers imposed by impediments
    to egress would seem like a minor issue compared with that.

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