Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Allegion
Email: lori_greene@allegion.com, Blog: www.idighardware.com or www.ihatehardware.com


Apr 02 2019

WWYD? ‘Small Town at War Over Active-Shooter Barricades’

Category: News,School Security,WWYD?Lori @ 12:42 pm Comments (6)
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An article from the Courthouse News crossed my desk a few days ago, and it has me scratching my head.  In a nutshell, the Lenox Massachusetts school district has filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Building Code Appeals Board, the town of Lenox, and the local building inspector.

Why?  Because the school bought barricade devices that are not compliant with the Massachusetts building code or fire code (or the US model codes or the ADA).

The article references the ALICE Training Institute – basically saying that ALICE prefers barricading to locking devices, and the school district came to the conclusion that using a barricade device is preferable to ALICE’s recommendation to barricade with furniture.  The article also references the PASS white paper, but makes it sound like the reason to avoid barricade devices is to avoid “butting heads with the local building code.”

This is INSANITY! This is yet another example of seeking to remove the safety protocols of the adopted codes, in order to prioritize security at a perceived lower cost.  In other states, this exact situation – buying classroom barricade devices and then finding out they weren’t code-compliant – has led to state legislation seeking to modify the codes.  When this type of legislation is successful, it makes it impossible for building inspectors and fire marshals to do their jobs – enforcing the codes that keep building occupants safe.

WWYD?  There is a link to the lawsuit in the article.  I’d love to hear your suggestions for how to help everyone involved understand all aspects of this issue.

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6 Responses to “WWYD? ‘Small Town at War Over Active-Shooter Barricades’”

  1. Lach says:

    Some people will defend an idea to the grave. Even if everyone is telling them they are wrong.

  2. nicole.dyer@allegion.com says:

    This is very scary stuff… common sense goes out the window. It would go out the door, but someone blocked it. Can DHI help lobby/raise awareness? Unfortunately, it may take a tragedy related to the illegal barricade devices before people understand…

  3. Bryan says:

    I’m enough of an a-hole to just call the perps up and ask if they ever received a high school diploma because they are behaving stupidly enough to beget the question.

  4. Craig says:

    Lori,

    This is insanity. School districts have become fodder for unscroupuless manufactures of non-compliant devices claiming these so called solutions are cost effective and will provide protection. It’s only a matter of time before a far worse tragedy will occur from the use of barricade devices.
    School boards and parents need to be educated on the Codes and the possible litigation that will occur if one of these devices causes the loss of life.

  5. Mark Williams says:

    This is a call to action for our industry. As is pointed out in the PASS Whitepaper on barricade devices (https://passk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CLASSROOM_BARRICADES.pdf), the part most folks miss is the fact that there are no documented cases of an active shooter breaching a locked door. Virginia Tech and Platte Canyon and other shootings are good examples of what happens when the danger is in the room and the perpetrator has the ability to barricade themselves inside the room. EMS folks will tell you that in an emergency event, the time it takes to get to the injured is critical to their ability to improve the outcome for them.

    Barricade devices are a solution in search of a problem. Schools districts would be better off spending the money they raise for barricade devices on more effective things like training or developing processes and procedures (like we do for fire and weather events).

    This is a call to action. Read the whitepaper and prepare yourself to have the conversation and point to the 2 or 3 simple facts outlined above. We can do better! We have to do better!

    Mark Williams, Vice Chair, Partner Alliance for Safer Schools – mwilliams@passk12.org

  6. LarryG says:

    It would seem one approach that could be considered would be to have legal counsel for several of the door and hardware associations to all start writing coordinated letters to the product owners, inventors, designers, etc. and especially to the people and organizations who are endorsing these products to warn them that the product is unsafe, poses a grave danger, and violate a variety of national model codes. The goal should be to communicate to them exactly how/why the product is dangerous/unsafe, to document the date when this information was communicated to them, and give them ample prior warning that should anyone be injured or worse thru use of the device that all of this information will be shared with plaintiff attorneys in any lawsuits that will prevent them from mounting any kind of defense that they were unaware of the potential risks arising from use of the product.

    Better yet would be to have legal counsel for the various model building and fire codes send cease and desist letter to these same individuals to the effect that installation/use of the device will be in violation of the code. Those that write and publish these codes should share responsibility to defend the intent and language of their code, all the responsibility for code enforcement should not fall on the local AHJ. At the same time all of the model building and fire codes need to take deliberate, coordinated action to adopt requirements that any barricade type device must be tested and listed by UL or some other nationally acceptable testing agency.

    Has the Consumer Product Safety Commission been contacted to see if they might become involved? Since these devices violate codes and are inherently unsafe, perhaps they should be recalled?? A national recall with plenty of news coverage will certainly help put the brakes on the cottage industry that has spawned all of these devices.

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