- An Ohio community group raised $30,000 to buy barricade devices for the schools in their district.
- The building department said the devices were not code-compliant and could not be installed.
- The district asked for a variance to use the devices and the request was denied.
- The community group enlisted their local legislators to create a bill that would allow barricade devices in schools.
- The Ohio Board of Building Standards held 2 hearings to gather information on the issue, and several members of the door and hardware industry testified.
- The bill was rolled into the state’s budget bill, and despite attempts of many door and hardware industry members to educate the legislators on the safety problems surrounding the devices, the barricade bill passed along with the budget bill.
While many school districts think that the new law allows them to freely use barricade devices, it does not. The law requires the Ohio Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of barricade devices, and I have been told that it does not go into effect until March of 2016. The rules have not yet been created by the Ohio BBS, but on Friday they released the final report on their research and the testimony from the hearings.
This report is a great analysis of the issue, and it should be shared with code officials, legislators, school districts, and others nationwide – this issue is not specific to Ohio. You can download the full report here.
Here are two very brief excerpts from the report:
In response to former Director of Commerce Andre Porter’s request, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (Board) conducted an examination of Ohio’s current building and fire codes and considered whether they needed to be changed to address emerging threats to public safety, including the possibility of an active shooter in schools.
After examination of current Ohio codes and standards, review of Board and staff research, and in consideration of the testimony presented at the hearings, the Board makes the following determination: We do not recommend any change to the current building and fire codes at this time.
The Board’s stance on barricade devices is clear. Regardless, the new law forces them to make rules for the use of the devices, and what those will be remains to be seen.
There is more information about barricade devices and school security on the Schools tab of this site.