I’ve been following this situation since last fall, when I saw the Facebook page of a community group raising money to buy barricade devices for their school district. The group ultimately raised over $30,000 and purchased the devices, but were then told that the devices did not comply with egress code requirements and a variance would be needed before the devices could be used. The variance hearing for the barricade devices to be used on the district’s high school was held yesterday, and the variance request was denied.
In order for the district to use the purchased devices, a change to the state’s fire code would be required. It’s possible that the state could eventually adopt a change similar to what was approved in Kansas or Louisiana, but my hope is that as the 2018 IBC code development cycle progresses, the proposals submitted by the BHMA Codes and Government Affairs Committee will be embraced as a better alternative so each state is not trying to address the matter individually.
For any schools considering the purchase of barricade devices, I would recommend having a conversation with the local fire marshal and building inspector, and looking at the code-compliant options available for locking classroom doors.