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Dec 15 2016

DSSF: Opening the Door to School Safety

Category: Egress,Locks & Keys,School Security,VideosLori @ 10:01 am Comments (5)

The Door Security and Safety Foundation has announced a video and public relations campaign which stresses the importance of securing classroom doors without compromising life safety.  The centerpiece is a short educational video which can be used to educate school administrators and parent-teacher organizations about the dangers of classroom barricade devices and the code-compliant options for securing classroom doors.

The Foundation is collaborating with The School Superintendents Association (AASA), which has members throughout North America; National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM); ASIS, and many other allied organizations.  The Advocacy Page on the Foundation’s website includes a fact sheet, white paper, and other helpful resources.

The Foundation needs our help to share this message!

Watch – The educational video.

Share – The video and online resources on your website, social media, and messages to schools, using the hashtag #LockDontBlock

Give – Your financial support helps this message go further and supports other important programs.

There’s more information about school security and safety available on the Schools page of iDigHardware!

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5 Responses to “DSSF: Opening the Door to School Safety”

  1. Jim Elder says:

    This video is terribly lacking, very disappointing and if I may say… gutless. It looks like a promo designed for selling locks (no offense intended). A flyby graphic by showing exact code language, the issue of no special knowledge or effort, the statistic about how many locked doors were breached in past incidents and, most importantly they did not even show what these things look like (the gutless part..). They painted barrier devices with too broad a brush and littered the video with shots of devices that could cost $800 or more per door. Its a marketing video and it reeks of the industry taking advantage of a terrible situation. Makes it easy for the barricade folks to say they just want to sell locks.

    Lori, did they not contact you for input? You have covered all this stuff.

    I really think its a missed opportunity. Too bad…

    • Lori says:

      Hi Jim –

      The Foundation didn’t create the video as a marketing piece…the organization doesn’t represent manufacturers or endorse products. The video was designed to raise awareness of the dangers of door barricade devices and address the unintended consequences that could occur as a result, but no barricade devices were shown in the video to avoid adding to their exposure or singling out one design vs. another.

      Code-compliant locks can be pricey, especially in comparison to the unregulated after-market devices. I think pointing out the code issues is the best way to combat the non-code-compliant products and protect the life safety of students and staff, so I will continue to do that.

      – Lori

  2. Joe says:

    The Door Safety and Security Foundation is sponsored by Allegion and ASSA Abloy  who are losing a large market share to these door barricading devises. idighardware is owned by Allegion as well. Many of the inventors of these devises are engineers with several US Patents and many years in the door hardware industry. Most of these added security devises have a mechanism to unlock them from the outside of the room, as do all of the traditional lock sets, ( a key ). Many states have amended there codes to allow these Temporary Locking Devises. I believe the producer of the video would gladly slip into place one of these door barricades if faced with an eminent thread on the other side of the door. The regular classroom door locks are great, but are also the first target of an intruder who attacks the door. Shall we just hide in the corner and hope one little door lever is enough?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Joe –

      It is no secret that I work for Allegion, and through this website and my support Allegion provides education about the code requirements for life safety and egress, fire protection, and accessibility. The Door Security and Safety Foundation is a public advocacy foundation whose mission is to promote secure and safe openings that enhance life safety through awareness and education.

      I disagree with several of the statements you made in your comment, and I would appreciate some documentation from you to support these claims.

        1) Many inventors of classroom barricade devices are engineers with many years in the door hardware industry?

      Based on my research, most of the devices have been invented by people who do not have an understanding of the codes and why they exist. Most people with many years in the door hardware industry would be aware of the safety requirements.

        2) Most classroom barricade devices can be unlocked from outside of the room?

      While there are some devices that can be unlocked from outside of the room, usually with a proprietary tool, there are many devices that can not be unlocked from the outside. Since most classroom barricade devices can be installed by anyone – including an unauthorized person intent on committing a crime, it is extremely important for the school staff and emergency responders to have authorized access.

        3) Many states have amended their codes?

      It is true that legislators in Ohio and Arkansas forced the amendment of the codes in those states, but these changes were made despite the objections of the code officials who understand the need for free egress. In a few other states, fire marshals were pressured to allow the devices. But in most states, devices which don’t comply with the model codes are not allowed. In North Carolina, a code change proposal was recently submitted by a barricade device manufacturer, and the NC Building Code Council voted NOT to approve this proposal. Instead, they approved the language that will be included in the 2018 model codes.

      If you’re not familiar with the 2018 model code language, it requires security devices used in schools and colleges to meet the current code requirements – one operation to release all latches on the door, no key/tool, special knowledge or effort to release the latch(es), no tight grasping, pinching or twisting to operate the hardware – AND it requires the hardware to be able to be unlocked from the outside. When you consider a classroom barricade device along with the existing hardware, I don’t know of an application that meets these requirements. You may be interested in the changes that are in progress for NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code as well. There is an article in this month’s NFPA Journal that describes the upcoming changes:

      In addition to the Door Security and Safety Foundation, the following organizations – focused on safety instead of less expensive security – have also published their opinion on the use of retrofit security devices which don’t meet the model code requirements:
      National Association of State Fire Marshals –
      Partner Alliance for Safer Schools –
      Security Industry Association –
      Associated Locksmiths of America –
      American Institute of Architects/Ohio –

      I can’t speak for the producer of the video regarding your assumption, but I am comfortable with the security provided by a lockset, just as I am comfortable in my home behind a locked door. As stated in the final report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (, “The testimony and other evidence presented to the Commission reveals that there has never been an event in which an active shooter breached a locked classroom door.”

      Before you point out that a door can be breached by breaking glass adjacent to the hardware and reaching through to turn the lever, this can (and should!) be addressed in a way that is code-compliant – the materials used are relatively inexpensive. You may remember that in the shooting at Red Lake High School, the intruder used this tactic to access one or more classrooms. This shooting occurred in Minnesota, so I asked the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s office whether they allow classroom barricade devices considering the incident at Red Lake. They DO NOT allow the devices, as detailed in their bulletin on the subject:

      At Allegion, our concern about classroom barricade devices is based on our mission to keep people safe where they live, work, and visit, not – as you allege – based on loss of market share. If there is any additional information that I can provide to you regarding code-compliant security products, please let me know.

      – Lori

  3. Mark Williams says:

    Lori’s points are well taken and are without dispute. A couple of points to add:
    1. Third party legal opinions point to the liability of those who deploy these devices. Before deploying the devices, schools should consult with legal counsel and their insurance companies to understand the extent of their liability on deploying the devices. They should also examine the financial ability of the barricade manufacturer to cover that liability as well. I’m guessing the attorneys are polishing up their TV ads…
    2. These devices give permission to anyone to lock any door at any time for any reason. Those who are familiar with school violence statistics shudder at this thought. What if the danger is in the room?
    2. Fire ratings on openings could be voided by the installation of barricade devices. Those familiar with the codes and testing procedures understand this nuance.
    3. Barricade devices violate ADA law (law not code). Someone just needs to bring suit.
    4. Ohio and Arkansas have opened Pandora’s box? Do we want politicians developing our life safety codes? Scary thought…Our codes have been developed over many years and through many tragedies by experts, not by manufacturers.

    I believe the folks developing these contraptions have good intentions, but are ignorant of the nuances with the points above and the point Lori made in her response.

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