I wrote this post yesterday, before the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, and I have come back to edit it. Within 3 hours of the shooting, I received an email asking whether classroom barricade devices are allowed in Florida. To the best of my knowledge, the short answer is “no” (if you know otherwise, please tell me).
In 2015, the Florida Department of Education issued a memo about classroom barricade devices to Florida school superintendents as well as colleges and universities, stating:
These devices may not meet current code requirements and may negatively affect life safety, such as emergency egress. The codes and standards adopted in Florida and followed in the design and maintenance of our educational facilities help to ensure life safety for all occupants of a school or post-secondary institution.
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.
According to the 2014 State Requirements for Educational Facilities, published by the Florida Department of Education, doors may be equipped with locksets that are lockable from inside the space, only if they are classroom security function locksets which allow unrestricted egress. Individual toilet rooms may be equipped with privacy locks that allow free egress and can be opened from the outside without a special tool.
We will learn more about this tragedy in the coming weeks. Now is not the time to look for a quick-fix security method that jeopardizes safety.
Here is my original post:
When classroom security methods are being considered, it’s important to understand what the current building codes and fire codes require as well as the risks of ignoring those requirements. This new video is a tool that you can use to educate and inform others about this issue.
On February 14th, the Utah House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that removes most of the egress requirements for classroom doors from their state codes. As life-safety proponents, it’s our responsibility to help ensure that egress, fire protection, and accessibility are not disregarded by similar legislation in other states, and that facilities have the facts BEFORE purchasing security devices that are not allowed in their jurisdictions. Please share this video.
The video below explains the various lock functions that may be used on classroom doors: