Arkansas Times: “Fire code change approved over fire marshal’s objections…will help sale of device with political investors”
The abbreviated version of this story is that a bill to change the state fire code and allow barricade devices in Arkansas schools is moving through the legislative process, despite “strong objections” from State Police Capt. Lindsey Williams, who also serves as state fire marshal. According to the article, several politicians including an Arkansas state senator are investors in a company that makes barricade devices – ULockitSecurity. I highly recommend that you read the article and check out the product.
From the Arkansas State Fire Marshal:
“Why would anyone be opposed to something intended to enhance school security,” he asked rhetorically. “The problem is that while this attempts to address one problem, it enhances the danger from another issue, such as fire.”
He said proponents note an absence of school fire deaths while school shooting deaths have occurred. Williams said that’s because of “very effective and well-defined [fire] code development over the years.” He disagreed that the door-locking devices were easy to disengage, particularly in a “panic” situation. He noted that, in a mass school shooting in Colorado, the shooters had also set fires. The fires were extinguished by sprinkler systems, which don’t exist in most Arkansas schools. “If these devices had been in place, people in those classrooms [in a similar situation] might very well not have been able to get out.” He said a piece of equipment rarely used isn’t easy to operate when it isn’t used every day. He noted that the Connecticut fire marshal, in a state where the Sandy Hook school massacre occurred, does not allow use of such devices.
In a December 2014 article from ArkansasOnline announcing the new barricade product from ULockitSecurity, state Senator Jason Rapert is quoted as saying “not only would the device be valuable for schools, it could be used in any place where large gatherings are held and weapons aren’t allowed, such as churches.”