One of the arguments made by supporters of classroom barricade devices is that many other states have already changed their codes to allow the devices to be used. While a few states do allow the devices, the vast majority of state codes have not changed. If a state has not made a code change to remove the safety requirements for egress, fire protection, and accessibility, I don’t know of a classroom barricade device that is compliant with the current model codes.
Some states have gone one step further and issued bulletins stating that non-code-compliant devices are not allowed. The most recent document is from the Florida Department of Education and was sent to all school superintendents and college and university presidents in Florida, as well as the Florida Joint Council of Fire and Emergency Service Organizations. The memo states, in part:
“Current code requirements for classroom doors that are used as a means of egress require doors to function as fire-rated, smoke and draft control doors, be unlatchable in a single motion from inside the room, and unlockable and openable from the outside by authorized persons. Therefore, the Department of Education and the State Fire Marshal’s office will not approve the use of these types of devices that do not comply with the current laws, codes and standards adopted in Florida. Unless the codes and standards change, our agencies will enforce the current code requirements as approved.”
It is highly likely that the model codes WILL change, but in the case of the 2018 International Building Code I expect to see the requirements become more prescriptive to help ensure the safety of students and staff, not less restrictive in order to allow less expensive security devices. As soon as the final language for the 2018 IBC is approved – hopefully before the end of 2015 – I will share it here. The hope is that states will change their codes by adopting the new IBC language, maintaining a level of consistency from state-to-state. If you need a copy of the proposed language prior to the final approval, just drop me an email.
Note: I have posted documentation from various states on the School Security page of iDigHardware. If you receive this type of memo or bulletin from any state, please send it to me and I will continue to add to the list.