As many of you know, I have been closely watching the barricade device issue in Ohio. If you haven’t been following along, here’s the summary of what happened:
- 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.
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Just a reminder about temporary time frames – wired glass was allowed on a “temporary” basis.
I appreciate your timely posting of BBS’s 7/24/15 report. Minor correction to your reporting. Report partially triggered by Adjudication Order issued by Licking County Building Dept dated 12/18/14 to Southwest Licking Local Schools (SWLS)not State Fire Marshal’s office. SWLS appealed order to Ohio Board of Building Appeals, that appeal denied 3/9/15. See Report’s pg 3 (page 5 of the Adobe .pdf document). I serve on Ohio Building Officials’ Association’s (OBOA) Board of Directors and as chair of OBOA’s Legislation Committee prepared correspondence regarding SB 125,HB 114, & HB 64 to legislators and the Governor’s Office. Day job’s Medina County. Ohio Chief Building Official, ph 330-722-9221.
Thanks Charles – I changed Ohio SFM to building department so hopefully everything is accurate now. 🙂
Is the OBOA correspondence something that you could share?
I still like the idea of a double-cylinder deadbolt for “Lockdown Use Only” in addition to the classroom lock. It’s still accessible from the outside but provides locking/security that is not easily breached by breaking the glass and reaching through the window. Yes, it’s an extra step but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of the children.
Hi Eric –
The problem with the double-cylinder deadbolt is that once it is locked there is absolutely no egress unless someone has the key. If it’s going to be a separate deadbolt and a second operation is allowed, I’d rather see the special deadbolt function I wrote about a while back (here: http://idighardware.com/2014/07/wwyd-school-multi-stall-bathrooms/) that has a cylinder on both sides so it can only be locked by an authorized person, but also has a thumbturn on the inside that retracts the bolt (won’t project it).
I get the point about egress but in an active shooter (lock-down) situation, isn’t the SOP to “barricade in place” until help arrives? Nobody is leaving until authorities secure the building. The benefit to the double-cylinder deadbolt is the INability for someone to reach through a broken window and unlock the door. If a deadbolt was provided with a trim ring that was labeled “for lock-down use only” in bold red letters with strict instructions for all key-holders to not use that lock for any other reason, I would certainly want my kids to be in that room. That extra bit of security could mean life or death even if that meant they couldn’t egress for the first 20 minutes of the lock-down. I think the risk is worth it since emergency personnel and every staff member would have access from outside. In the active shooter situation, what are the chances that the room will need to be evacuated because of smoke or fire BEFORE emergency crews arrive (which will probably happen in less than 10 minutes)?
As for the special double-cylinder deadbolt with a thumb-turn inside (that only retracts the bolt), that would only add security if the thumb-turn could NOT be reached through the broken window (which would then be a great option). Also, wouldn’t that type of deadbolt (double-cylinder with thumb-turn) have to be a mortise type which makes retrofitting existing doors much more labor intensive and expensive (vs. a cylindrical deadbolt).
I agree that the inability to egress is a serious concern. I just believe that the risk vs reward is worth taking for the safety of our children in an active shooter situation. Almost all classrooms have a phone now. In the unlikely event the teacher locked the door and couldn’t open it, the students could use the phone to dial out for help. My child in 2nd grade knows how to do this. Those in K or 1st grade likely have a teacher and an assistant capable of seeking help or finding the key around the teachers neck. We have to put some faith in our teachers and staff to make wise decisions for themselves and their students. We aren’t as dumb as our government wants us to believe. We are capable of making good choices for ourselves.
Although none of what I’m suggesting is ideal, it’s better than the homemade devices that are surfacing all around us. Our products are tested and approved. Let’s keep it in the industry and controlled by those that know most about it.
Hi Eric –
Although lockdown is one strategy during an active shooter situation, there are times when evacuation is the best option. I’d rather try to address the glazing to make it more difficult to get through for access to the inside lever or thumbturn – there are ways to do that pretty inexpensively. The deadlock function that I described is currently only available as a mortise deadlock (as far as I know), but maybe there is a way to provide safety in a more easily retrofittable lock. I know the intent of the double-cylinder deadbolt would be only for use during a lockdown, but I’ve seen way too many “after-hours” security devices installed while the building is occupied to trust that the instructions would be followed.
This isn’t a good situation to be sure, but in the interest of keeping the schools as safe as possible I agree with all of the provisions recommended in the poll, but one….under no circumstances should a barricade device be used on a door with emergency (panic or fire) exit hardware. I strongly encourage the adoption of a rule requiring only temporary use (no longer than three years so that the schools can secure the necessary funding to install code-compliant security locking solutions), and vigorous, un-announced inspections for adherence to the recommended stipulations referenced in the poll.
OK, they have to create rules. If one will suffice: “Barricade devices cannot be used.”
Or, as submitted with my vote, “Barricade devices may be used on doors that do not have operating hardware, and cannot be opened.”
They will be SO proud of themselves when they cook their own kids with this foolishness. I can’t believe that there aren’t enough grown-ups in Ohio to stop this. What morons.
This just reinforces my opinion that all politicians should be limited to two terms. One in office. One in prison. When one these devices causes death or harm to a student and help couldn’t get in, the politicians will be unavailable for comment and anything they had previously said will be “taken out of context” All you will hear is “not my fault”