I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not 😀 but I usually get pretty detailed when I’m writing an article or answering a question. It’s not because I like to hear myself talk…I just want to make sure you’re well-informed. It was a challenge for me to write an article about classroom barricade devices with a maximum of 150 words, to be published in School Planning & Management and College Planning & Management. Normally, after 150 words I’m just getting started!
Since this article was published, I have had several people email me to thank me for writing it. One was a fire marshal who said their office had received many inquiries about the devices, and he appreciated having my resources to help educate people. It makes me proud to have code officials asking me to help with their understanding of the door-related code requirements – maybe I should be writing these short and sweet articles more often!
What Should a School Consider Before Purchasing Classroom Barricade Devices, Also Known As Temporary Door Locking Devices?
Classroom barricade devices, which are added to existing classroom door openings, are not compliant with the model fire codes and building codes used in most states. These codes, designed to ensure the safety of building occupants, require door hardware that allows free egress, meets the accessibility standards, and does not negatively impact fire protection. In order for other locking methods to be allowable by code, the devices must be approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), or the code must be modified. Even if a local code change is made, some devices may not meet the federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
An additional concern is the potential for an unauthorized person to install the barricade device and secure the classroom in order to commit a crime. Once in place, many devices currently on the market restrict all access from the outside, preventing a school staff member or emergency responder from entering the room to help. School districts are advised to check with legal counsel in order to understand any liability issues that may exist.