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Jun 13 2014

FF: The Sleeve

I had a great Fixed-it Friday post all ready to go (LOTS of door closer photos!), but since 33 people sent me links to this product in the last 48 hours I’ve rescheduled the original post to next Friday.

After Tuesday’s school shooting in Oregon, there were several news reports about a school security product developed by a group of teachers.  It’s called “The Sleeve,” a steel sleeve that fits over the door closer arm to prevent an intruder from opening the classroom door from the corridor (a similar idea to the DeadStop device).  The product currently sells for $65.

I’m going to keep my opinions to myself (for now), so I can find out what you think.  Is this type of product a good solution?  Why, or why not?

There are some relevant comments on this article:

Teachers’ invention designed to save lives in school shootings – WTHR 13

I saw this instructional video a few weeks ago (thanks Jess!):

According to the organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Oregon incident was the 74th school shooting since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  There is some compelling data on their site.


Clarification: Everytown used the following methodology: Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools, were not included. This list includes incidents meeting the above criteria that were brought to our attention after our School Shootings Analysis was issued on February 10, 2014. Incidents were identified through media reports, so this is likely an undercount of the true total.

So…talk to me.

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40 Responses to “FF: The Sleeve”

  1. Jeff Tock says:

    If the closer is on a wood door & isn’t thru-bolted, wouldn’t the closer just rip off of the door?

  2. Brian Walker says:

    I’m sure I am just echoing the sentiments toward the deadstop device, but while the idea for this device is intended for safety, it can be a massive safety hazard! Even if we assume the classroom door is not fire rated (Which means the device use would be illegal), classroom doors are a main means of egress during fires. But beyond safety, as this device would have to be near the door at all times, a less than well behaved kid could “lock” their teacher out of the room without any means of reentry.

    What a great prank… throwing this on the closer and crawling out the window.

  3. Lee Francisco says:

    I think you can get a lot of leverage on a 3 foot door. I question if the closer will stay attached to the door with a determined pull. Obviously thru-bolts would make a difference but I’ve provided many a closer on schools without thru-bolts. Aesthetic reasons I suppose. It might be deterrent to a would be attacker and cause the individual to move on but I don’t think it would stop someone determined to get in the door. I think a classroom security lock is still the answer. As far as I know the classroom security lock is the only solution that still meets life safety and egress requirements. Not to mention that a shorter teacher is going to have trouble reaching the closer to install that sleeve.

    • John Truempy says:

      A door is a simple lever class 2. Mechanical Advantage (MA) is Input/Output M=I/O. So translate that to common door measurements of 36in and door Closer mounting screw 8in from hinge (normal for a closer set to open 110 degrees). works out to MA=36/8 so MA is 4.5. So the 5Lbs to meet ADA is 5*4.5=22.5Lbs on that screw. If you use 100Lbs of pull you get 450Lbs on the screw. This is the simple formula the total formula would be much more complex because there are more fulcrum points involved when this device is used.

  4. Jodie Meyers says:

    It has been my experience that other than science lab doors, most of the time the exception to the rules are taken and there are no closers on classroom doors. I can appreciate the ingenuity the teacher who invented has, but I would much prefer the use of the intruder function on the classroom door locks. I’m just plain old more comfortable with compliance with life safety!

  5. Safecrackin Sammy says:

    As soon as I saw this on the local nightly news, I thought of ya’ll.

    I agree with all of the other posts… Its an impediment to life safety and the ~600 pound hold advertised I think is well overstated.

    Couple assuming the door closer is P/A and this thing has not been lost in a desk drawer when needed in a panic situation and its useless.

    At 65 bucks a pop plus shipping they are doing no favors for anybody…. Just ambulance chasing and trying to make people feel good that they did something.

  6. krysbe says:

    Unfortunately, teachers are not educated on the building and life safety codes. When I read the title of the article, I was not thinking of a sleeve on a closer, but rather a sleeve on a door, maybe like some automated bullet resistant sheet that went over the outside of the door that still provided free egress. Really, how cool would that be?

  7. Ken says:

    OK the shooter is in the room with hostages. or the police need to clear the building. Now what do you do. BAD Idea.

  8. Sharon Wilson says:

    Hmmm…. how’s that go? “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”
    There are so many issues with this device! I would like to see my
    son’s 5’1″ 70-year old French teacher get this up on her classroom door

  9. Kyle says:

    I think all of the previous posts have good points about code violation and durability of the product and closers being used with this product. Sadly the reality is that not every school district can afford to retrofit their openings to become safer in regards to active shooters on campus. There seem to be several products surfacing that claim to secure openings when there is an active shooter on campus, some of them are legitimate efforts to keep students and staff safe while others may just be trying to cash in on the issue at hand or be a last ditch effort when they are in the worst case scenario. While I do believe that we have some great solutions in door hardware for these instances I think the industry needs to constantly keep improving as we adapt to ever changing environments such as the rise in active shooters. The code has already been changed due to school shootings and it almost seems that another area of “life safety” is evolving in these school shooting situations. The best I can do in my role as a specification consultant is to try and stay on top of using the latest and greatest hardware solutions for these instances as well as offering my services to conduct site surveys for facilities that want to upgrade their hardware to account for active shooters. I think others in their roles are also trying to do what they can and know how to protect students and faculty but they don’t always have the big picture of codes etc. and may be blinded by fear at times. I can’t blame them for trying but it does seem to indicate there is a gap here that I think will continue to evolve the code and products that we use as we can see from the history of code development.

    • Mark Wolverton says:

      Sadly, this nation CAN afford to retrofit schools and upgrade them. We just decided we don’t want to.

  10. Rachel Smith says:

    I saw this on facebook and meant to send to you. Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks of you whenever I see things like this.

  11. Sheldon says:

    Affordable? At sixty-five dollars? Have the high school shop make them.

  12. Liz Lenox says:

    {sigh…} Oh how I wish this was the answer. I agree with most of the above comments. This device will create a safety hazard, it could be used against the students (by another student, or the intruder) – there are so many reasons why this is not a good idea. Plus it’s dependent on the door closer being parallel arm mounted, which not all of them are. Although that’s really besides the point since it’s a bad idea. If it was ok to just barricade the door, why not just use a surface bolt? (I am not suggesting that anyone do this, but why go to the trouble of slipping a sleeve over the closer arm, just padlock the door!!). We work in this industry to create safe yet secure door openings, and that’s the reason why we can’t just barricade a door. What if the teacher uses the sleeve and the intruder breaks in through the window? Now you’ve got an intruder and students trapped in the classroom.

    The fact that there have been 74 school shootings since the horrible tragedy at Newtown is simply horrific. We can’t live in fear, I get it… but as a parent I can’t help but feel slight trepidation every day when I drop my daughter off at school. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s certainly not padlocks, or bolts or closer arm sleeves.

  13. RB Sontag says:


  14. Chris Bird says:

    From an admittedly but equally biased group:

    BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today congratulated CNN for helping to expose what now appears to be a deliberate deception by Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety” that claims there have been 74 school shootings since the December 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.

    That figure is also being questioned by other news outlets after one curious journalist looked at the list of shootings released by the Everytown group, along with a map, and discovered that many didn’t happen on school campuses, and others were gang-related events after school hours, or that happened in parking lots.

    “Bloomberg should change the name of his $50 million ‘grassroots’ political machine to ‘Every Liar for Gun Safety’,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This press scrutiny of claims by the gun prohibition lobby is long overdue, because this is hardly the first time that anti-gunners have tried to bamboozle the public with deceptive data.”

    CNN used the 74 shootings claim from the “Everytown” group before it “took a closer look at the list, delving into the circumstances of each incident Everytown included. Gottlieb was delighted that the news agency dug into the figures, but wishes CNN had done that sooner, rather than later.

    “CNN used the figure without checking, even though in its follow-up report, the network acknowledged knowing that it came from Bloomberg’s ‘Everytown” group, and that the billionaire former mayor is ‘a passionate and public advocate of gun control’,” Gottlieb stated. “I’ll bet CNN would never use data from gun rights organizations without first checking it for accuracy.

    “Sadly,” he concluded, “this episode not only reveals how gun prohibitionists try to fool people with questionable information, it also shows that the liberal, anti-gun-rights media all-too-willingly accepts such information at face value. What does that say about press partisanship, if not press gullibility? Let’s hope that from now on, CNN and other news agencies challenge information from anti-gun organizations before treating it like scripture.”

    • Ron Richter says:

      i object. this column is NOT about gun rights, gun nuts, left wings and wingnuts. (well, maybe proactive protection methods against wingnuts with guns…)

  15. Jim Hooker says:

    I sent this to my sales team after I saw it earlier this week and wanted to see their comments.
    – What if it is an 8′ classroom door and a 5’2″ teacher?
    – What if it is not a parallel arm closer?
    – What about egress codes, it violates those?

    A classroom intruder lock is the much better option.

    If schools would just spend more money on door hardware and stop buying books…

    • Jess says:

      it also helps if it’s the correct door hardware for the situation when comes to $pending those tax dollar$$

  16. Chuck says:

    Ridiculous! Too cumbersome; Not handicap accessible; Too difficult for the average person to order; Too easy to fumble the installation in time of emergency; If not removed it prevents use of that door in an emergency; Short people will be just SOL; need I go on? 🙂

  17. David Barbaree says:

    Once again, I agree with Sam.

    This strikes me an attempt to make people feel safer, without providing any actual safer measures. A solution to one problem is not viable if it creates other problems.
    I like how the guy demonstrates how easy it is to remove for evacuation egress…as long as you can reach the closer arm. How “easy” would that be for a kindergartner?

    As you know Lori, with your help I have outlined a strategy for our district that addresses fire doors and the speedy lockdown concerns. All done without impeding egress.

    Our strategy for fire doors is:
    1. Locks on all classroom doors are Schlage ND53 entrance locks. These can easily be locked from the inside while allowing them to remain latched for fire door standards. This addresses the normal student access during class.
    2. Exit devices on these doors have a double cylinder thumb-turn with a labeled (lock/unlock) cover. Again, doors are latched and can be easily locked from the inside.

    On non-rated doors:
    1. Either Schlage ND53 or ND80 storeroom functions can be used in combination with the Door Blok or similar device added. It keeps the door slightly ajar and NOT latched, but can easily be slid back from the inside for lockdown scenarios.
    2. The same storeroom function applies with exit devices (Von Duprin 99NL x 990NL trim) The Door Blok holds it slightly ajar but easy to retract from the inside for lockdown scenarios.

    This combination along with staff training addresses locking the room quickly from the inside while not interfering with fire door or egress requirement.

    In short, I think this “sleeve” solution is a very bad idea and if it was used in a school emergency, the school and the manufacturer are open to a HUGE liability.

  18. Joel Niemi says:

    I can think of a lot of my teachers, my son’s teachers, and just plain teachers that I know, who wouldn’t be able to reach high enough to place this item over the closer arms.

    I wouldn’t recommend it.

  19. Keith Krienke says:

    What everyone ^^^^ said, not a workable solution.

  20. Rich Conroy says:

    Ok, I just took a look at the video and I agree with the posts above. I also have a few more comments. The first is if the door is unlocked and the sleeve is in place I bet the door will still open an inch or so. Can you imagin being a grade school child and the bad guy pulls on that door and with that said what happens when you keep pulling, and pushing will that sleeve wiggle off? I’m sorry but so many things could go wrong that a good safe school lock would prevent. I also wonder if Mr Sleeve thought about liability insurance? Also two things jump out at me during the video. The first is Mr Sleeve really didn’t seem to me to have the children’s best interest in mind is it me or did he look like he was already counting the money. The second is with all the measuring it was like you were installing vertical rod devices, maybe it’s me. Some schools don’t have all the same make closers you could be there for a month just measuring. Sorry it has been a long week and this could have some drastic consequences. Like I said I think that too many things could go wrong. Nuff Said!!

    • Jess says:

      from watching the video and from the audience that also seen it besides me, one of the individuals did say he seen the device slide off a little as it can be heard rattling s the door is wiggled, so if door is wiggled long enough, you can in theory make the Sleeve fall off the closer as it’s only held on the closer with rubber pads

      (friction of the rubber pads on edges of closer arm)

      another weak point noticed, as that saying goes, something is as strong as the weakest link, and in this case, the closer’s PA bracket and the joint that connects forearm to the bracket. pull hard enough (not too hard to do with some brands) you end up with a Dorito’s chip as a PA bracket and if keep pulling, can snap the bracket in half or break the “wrist” joint of the closer arm (and the intruder can the door wide enough to get into the room)

      (both of which i have seen happen and the door didn’t even have any type of restriction device on the closer’s arm!)

      I seen this about a month or 2 ago on youtube and sent to Lori, last week I seen it again on a group on facebook that talks about door closers (Door Closer Enthusiasts) Mark from LCN shared a link in the group about this device, then I had to share with another person in the hardware field (NEDC)

      as much as I have a strong passion for door closers, this device can cause more trouble then what it was designed to do and do NOT encourage it’s use.

      -jess the door closer doctor

  21. curtis meskus says:

    $ 3.50 barrel bolt cheaper and just as dangerous

  22. John Truempy says:

    I am glad to see so many reasons why this is a bad idea listed above. The one justification I keep seeing for this or any other alternative method is cost. Well at $65 you are 1/2 way to a value engineered product like the Falcon brand lock. If the school system has an institutional locksmith on staff the labor cost is moot and if not find any local locksmith with a 12 year old in school and I am sure things can be worked out. Call the local lock supply company or contract hardware company and local factory rep and see what they can do about a deeper discount just for the locks of classroom security function. New construction and renovation should not even be an issue (that is up to all you spec. writers doing section 08 to make sure they are in there).

    Every school has broken locks each year just replacing each with the classroom security function would upgrade some. After that start a program of upgrading locks a few each year working back from the entry doors. It has been 15 years since Columbine just 4 doors a year since then and 60 doors would already be done. The cost of replacing a new gym floor would cover the be about the same as replacing all the locks in a school and the lack of a new gym floor has never gotten CNN parked in front of their school.

    The problem I see is the people who make the decisions don’t know any better and the people who know better like Lori’s loyal readers are not the people making the decisions. We need to close that gap.

  23. Eric says:

    Chris Bird, Thank You for your post. You are absolutely correct. It’s amazing to think of the power our media has. We all need to read and listen to the news and ask ourselves if what is being said is true/accurate. Just because CNN or Fox or any other news agency reported it, it is not necessarily true (and far too often NOT accurate). Even if it’s based on the truth, chances are there are lots of distorted facts/figures.

    Think about the figures you hear during “breaking news” events. Speaking hypothetically:
    “Six people have been killed and 20 more injured” from one channel. Another will state “3 people killed and dozens injured”. A day or two later it’s confirmed that one person was killed and 3 or 4 injured.

    I’m not making light of the shootings. One killed is too many. But the situation is well beyond door locks.
    When criminals know when and where they can carry a weapon without the threat of opposition, what better place to commit a crime? It’s like advertising to a thief which homes and/or businesses don’t have cameras or security alarms.

    I’ve heard that one of the best deterrents against burglars is a security alarm sign in your front yard. Would you ever consider putting a sign in your yard that says “Away on vacation. No alarm. No cameras. Help yourself”.

  24. Jess says:

    Hello again Lori,

    your welcome (for finding the video on how to measure for the sleeve)

    I also shown this to a locksmithing forum (for hobby pickers and professionals) some not all too enthused by this device either,

    another place this Sleeve got discussed, on “younow”(what used to be, a man who talks about accessibility talked about it for at least 2 hours today on his live broadcast

    device also came up during a google+ hangout between myself and a man I have talked with since 2004, he was asking if i seen the news about some teacher inventing something for doors to prevent access into classrooms, then I grabbed one of my closers arms (LCN reg style arm) to explain why I feel it’s not a good idea.

    all takes time before AHJ will find out or do an inspection and ban them from the schools because of code violations and ruin Daniel Neitzel’s reputation if things go all wrong during a true emergency when one of these is deployed to find out the only thing that happens is the closer’s arm bends and breaks from moderate amount of force on handle.

    makes me kind of wonder if it’s ever reached my local school district since my friend from google hangout seen about it on a local TV news station. I am sure one of the middle/high school teachers were watching or seen it online the next day.

    -Jess the door closer doctor

  25. Fadi Ammoun says:

    How to stop the students to use this product for closing the door from inside the class ?

  26. Mary says:

    I teach at a community college in California. The city in which I teach is not all that safe, and the campus is open to a ll comers, because it is a community college. The door to my classroom, and all of our classrooms, opens out. The only way to lock them is to go outside and turn the key or put in the code. The door in my current room is at the back of the room. If there were an active shooter, I would have no protection without exposing myself to danger. I would welcome the opportunity to be able to protect my students and myself, as barricading the door or locking it would not be helpful or possible. I get that it is a safety issue, not to be used on a daily basis, however an active shooter probably trumps the usual safety codes. I realize that most of you don’t see this as a viable safety measure, but I assure complete exposurewith no options is not acceptable to those of us who are exposed. Oh, and the college has declined to address this issue in a satisfactory, or any, manner. What do you suggest?

    • Jess says:

      Mary, my best guess is that since this is a door that opens out to the outside, a panic bar may work (like you see on fire exit doors at stores) that you can lock from inside the room and the outside is locked so you don’t have to expose yourself to danger.

      many school districts now have a policy/regulation in place that bans add-ons or any door barricading device being installed (such as the sleeve or other device that prevents the door from opening)

      another option, can you contact maintenance/locksmith/key control department of your school district to see if they can put in a classroom intruder lock?? (works much like an )entry lock on a house door, but one motion egress, the secured side is always able to turn to exit in an emergency.

      -Jess the door closer doctor

  27. Brian Wear says:

    Everyone needs to consider the actual benefit vs the harm this product could cause. I personally think this product violates codes, and could potentially help an intruder. This is like hanging a gun on the wall inside the classroom for a crazed kid to use to shoot his classmates. If the wrong person uses this product, it would potentially keep help from coming into the room. On the flip side, on wood doors, I could see this product easily failing. It totally relies on a perfect door closer installation, which people in the door industry knows, does not happen half of the time. The door closer is designed for door control, not door security. This in no way secures the door to the frame. This product gives a false sense of security. People need to think about this before jumping on the band wagon.

  28. Gary says:

    I understand all the above comments, The main problem with a key lock on door, It can be seen exactly where the lock is located and the shooter shoots the lock and the door is open. To keep a student from access to the sleeve or any other door locking device is simply to lock it in a drawer for a teacher to retrieve in an emergency situation. For a short person to install in a life and death situation, I think they would stand on a chair and install it. You can go on and on with what if’s. For example the kid reads these comments and purchases the sleeve and brings it to school and installs it to pull a prank. It goes back to the beginning issue you need a plan of some kind to be able to have a chance to escape. Anyone can just sit back and become a victim. But that is a choice that they will have to decide on what they are going to do. The more options we give the teaches and students, the more options you will be able to survive.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Gary –

      Do you know of any instances where someone has shot the lock and entered a classroom? I’d like to look into this.

      – Lori

  29. David F says:

    While the intention of this device was good its practicability and liability is questionable . First and foremost not all closures are mounted parallel arm and of those I have encountered most of them have been improperly installed to begin with. The whole point of a parallel arm is that the main arm is parallel to the door . In any case having said that, its far to complicated for someone other than a qualified door tech to get all these exact measurements and then order the device(s). If reading the comments is any indication its cost is as prohibitive as its implementation . I’m sure as pointed out when this device is put on the door the door may still open a bit to provide an intruder the opportunity to get a weapon thru the door if in fact that is what they were trying to do . Also it was pointed out what if the intruder is already in the room and installs this device , again we address liability ,It may save a few seconds or deter the intruder to try another door ( which I think was the intention here) While the Idea was good lets go back to the drawing board and rethink this.

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