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Oct 24 2018

WW: I’m at a loss for words…

I will just let y’all share your thoughts on this one.  If you’d like to read the full article, it is here.


Photo: John VanPelt –

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29 Responses to “WW: I’m at a loss for words…”

  1. Austin says:

    They reference item 3 under Section, Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry, saying that it “permits two distinctly separate releasing operations from the egress side provided that no keys, tools, or special knowledge or effort is needed to open the door”. That is inaccurate, correct? I also find it funny that they provide a “specially engineered breaching tool” to allow access to the room from the outside when the barricade is deployed. With that and their required install, 24/7 monitoring, etc I really wonder what the cost of this is and how it compares to a code compliant lock?

    • Lori says:

      Section is below. At one time, there was a proposal to allow 2 releasing operations, but it was voted down at the NFPA annual meeting. Appeals by representatives of this company were also rejected, so they should be very familiar with the code requirements. The number of allowable operations is not specifically addressed in the section below, because of the way the proposal process works – once the line about 2 operations was removed from the section, one operation is mandated by Section Also note the height requirement in #3 below.* Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry. Classroom doors shall be permitted to be locked to prevent unwanted entry provided that the locking means is approved and all of the following conditions are met:
      (1) The locking means shall be capable of being engaged without opening the door.
      (2) The unlocking and unlatching from the classroom side of the door can be accomplished without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
      (3) The releasing mechanism for unlocking and unlatching shall be located at a height not less than 34 in. (865 mm) and not exceeding 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor.
      (4) Locks, if remotely engaged, shall be unlockable from the classroom side of the door without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort.
      (5) The door shall be capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with the necessary key or other credential.
      (6) The locking means shall not modify the door closer, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware.
      (7) Modifcations to fre door assemblies, including door
      hardware, shall be in accordance with NFPA 80.
      (8) The emergency action plan, required by 15.7.1, shall address the use of the locking and unlocking means from within and outside the room.
      (9) Staff shall be drilled in the engagement and release of the locking means, from within and outside the room, as part of the emergency egress drills required by 15.7.2.

  2. Cda says:

    Ok along with fire safety programs for younger students, going to also teach basic building code standards.

  3. Thomas Oconnor says:

    Person first in line in a panic situation:
    “Excuse me” to the hundreds of people pressing me against this Fire-Armor barricaded door, “Would you all mind backing up a couple of feet? I need some room and a moment to bend over here, apply some special knowledge, and tightly grasp this mechanism. Then with a quick twist of my wrist I’ll have this thing out of the way.” “Don’t mind the smoke, flames, fumes, or other threat behind you, just back up some. We’ll be out of here in a jiffy.”

    Fire Marshals in Kansas and 4 other states need to rescind their approvals.

    Keep fighting the good fight Lori.

  4. Fred Davis says:

    I always find it hard to understand why people think it’s necessary to install a second lock when a grade 1 lock is already on the door. If you use the lock that’s their you will not need a second. With that being said I do like the wifi communication on this device. Providing teachers with the location of the threat is far more useful than a simple alarm. I also like the breaching tool that allows first respondents to enter. If it wasn’t for the egress issue we’d have a winner.

  5. Billy Mathis says:

    While I can understand the perceived need for this device and the apparent cost and effectiveness seem to validate its use. My concerns are two fold. First, how many false alarms will be given off before the whole system will be scrapped and therefore wasting money and the second is the breaching tool provided to emergency responders. If this system were maliciously activated, how long till the special tool can arrive and the specialized people or team put together to make this breaching tool work. It only takes seconds to take a life or perpetrate a crime. I have my reservations about this being an effective tool in the school’s arsenal.

  6. Jim Elder says:

    Where do you come up with this stuff? I hope the guy who took this pic informed the guy… or the AHJ

  7. Joe Prosser says:

    I sent an email to the writer of the article criticizing the lack of research on the subject.

    These things are going to get someone killed. Especially on doors with panic hardware! The state fire marshal who is approving this is setting the state up for huge lawsuits.

    • Jeff Tock says:


      I have written to 2 ass’t superintendents that were featured in 2 of Lori’s articles, about the insanity and unintended consequences of using secondary locking devices, and so far….no response. I think they are unable to think this through to it’s conclusion. If they did, how could they change course and admit they thinking was flawed. I am so frustrated!

  8. Eric Rieckers says:

    Everything about this product- including the name- is wrong. Just wrong.

  9. Daniel Davis says:

    I get how these devices are engineered out of fear and grief, but what happens when an active shooter decides to barricade themselves inside a room full of people and now they can’t get out in a timely manner. Now whoever sponsored the funds to install that device is really going to regret having their name on that door locking the victims in.

    Good grief Charley Brown.

    The amount of money they are forking over to install these devices could be used on safer hardware options. I can’t believe Fire Door Solutions of all companies is capitalizing on this “solution”… enough said.

  10. Raymond Holman, AHC says:

    So…… What are the inside cylinders for? If they’re worried about mullion deflection, add mullion stabilizers. They still meet all egress codes and are a lot cheaper than what they went with. And they can’t be used for nefarious purposes. Does the fire department have to check the special breaching tool out of the office or do they have to carry it on the truck all the time? I keep expecting to hear about a lawsuit related to these types of things.

  11. Collin Birkett says:

    This has come up a few times now at college campuses I’ve consulted for around Southern California. With all the school shootings that seem to keep happening, most schools are taking matters into their own hands. Their thought behind securing their students is obviously in the right. But all of these “Secure In Place” modifications that facilities are making to their fire doors are making their fire doors in-compliant.

    I think it’ll be interesting to see what products are developed and adopted/approved by most State Fire Marshals and CMS/Joint Commission in the coming years.

    Thanks for sharing the article!

    – Collin

  12. Frank Ehrman CPP PSP says:

    A direct excerpt from Fire Door Armor’s website with my comments as noted, I can’t be speechless, this is a code violation that will not save lives but potentially kill people. How about a properly thought out security design and response plan instead. Also might prove to be a real nuisance as children might decide to play with it…………

    “Fire Marshals insist on code enforcement and current fire codes require single-motion egress (My comment, Apparently not always) . In its resting position on the door, single-motion egress is not impaired. If actuated during a simultaneous fire/active shooter emergency, My capitalization of their key phrase, A MANUAL AND EASY SECOND-MOTION FOR EGRESS IS REQUIRED. Several state fire marshals have already written waivers for this door-mounted barricade due to its effectiveness and ease of operation.”

    My Comment:
    Keywords, their website……….SECOND MOTION
    Don’t care about several Fire Marshall’s beliefs.
    Believe it or not Fire Marshall’s are not always right in their interpretation of Codes.

  13. Nate R LESD#79 says:

    “At a cost of $250 per door”. For less than that the key cylinder can be changed and a thumbturn installed giving anyone the ability to lock the door. If the classrooms have cylindrical locksets installed those can also be changed to a keyed entry and still remain code compliant. I don’t understand the logic.

  14. Bryan says:

    But those kickplates!!
    Some contractor’s installers!

  15. Linda Scott says:

    I was truly hoping that it wasn’t MY Louisburg they were referring to but unfortunately, it was Louisburg, KS, a few miles from where I live. I don’t understand how the state fire marshall could approve this item. Not only does it not meet fire and life safety codes but ADA requirements for 10″ smooth bottom rail and 34″ to 48″ location. I was equally shocked that the President of the company stated that a kindergartner could easily lift the switch to activate the unit and thought it was a good thing! I know I wouldn’t want something on the door that a small child could easily use to lock the teacher or others out of the room but also send a lock down signal (and probably widespread panic) to the entire building. Oh, yeah, that is a brilliant idea – NOT!

  16. Bryan says:

    Holes don’t line up, must have put an 8” in place of a 10” which was mounted too high as well. Kickplates should be installed just above the eased edge of the bottom of the door.

  17. Chuck Park says:

    So, if the worst were to happen, and lives were lost because of one of these devices, will the lawsuit list include the “sponsor” that helped fund the purchase and installation of the device as well as the manufacturer, installer, school district, AHJ, etc?
    And to echo Daniel’s statement, it boggles my mind that a company that is involved in the fire door industry would produce and promote a product of this sort.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Chuck –

      I think if/when there is a lawsuit, everyone involved with the decision, purchase, installation, deployment, approval, etc., could be included. A few years ago I spoke to a school security consultant about code-compliant security methods, and he said that barricade devices would eventually help the expert witness side of his business. Chew on that for a while. 🙁

      – Lori

      • Darrell Barricklow says:

        Hi Lori, I hear what you’re saying, but a long time ago Council for my then employer told me that “you can sue anyone for anything”. It might be a ridiculous lawsuit and you might have cause to recover the losses of defending yourself, but the initial “defense” of you being a mere sponsor of the device could be enough to destroy a person financially or bankrupt a business.

    • Darrell Barricklow says:

      That was going to be my same thinking… Just what I would want to do, have my name or my business name “sponsoring” a non-code compliant device that results in the death of someone.

  18. DAVID FEDERICO says:

    When are they all going to learn. There is already existing compliant hardware available to secure doors in the event of special situations.Why are we constantly trying to reinvent the wheel?

    • Darrell Barricklow says:

      I believe it boils down to simple economics and the fear of what may seem immanent. A $200 or $300 seemly “good solution” versus the replacement of door hardware at the cost of $500 to $1500 a leaf, plus the keying nightmares would appear as a no-brainer to a person who knows nothing about life-safety.

      K-12 schools are without a doubt the safest buildings from a Life Safety code standpoint. New schools or newly renovated schools will likely require a fully automatic sprinkler system with a fire evacuation alarm, and all schools are required to conduct regularly scheduled fire and natural disaster drills. If one were to look at the number of fatalities as a result of a school fire, we all should be pleasantly surprised! These type of statistics are representative of the great work put forth by AHJ’s, architect’s, engineer’s and the school districts themselves. People quickly lose sight of these facts when a tragic event like a school shooting occurs.

      • Lori says:

        Hi Darrell –

        This is a serious question…what existing condition would prompt a comparison of $500-1500 vs. $200-300? Meaning, what hardware would be on the doors before any security upgrade was made?

        – Lori

  19. David Moyer says:

    Without a doubt, the most amazing aspect of this product is the company behind it.

    The article states the product and company, Fire Door Armor, is “a division of Fire Door Solutions of Stilwell [KS].”

    Fire Door Solutions inspects fire doors in healthcare, ensuring doors comply with NFPA 80. And yet here they are peddling this nonsense? If true, if Fire Door Solutions is the parent of Fire Door Armor, my respect for FDS just went to ‘0’ (that’s “zero”). I’m shocked FDS is advocating and selling this product. Unreal.


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