I don’t think I’ve written about this particular application before, but I do think it’s a valid option for existing classroom doors.  I’d like to know what you think, and if there are potential problems or concerns.

This is an older classroom building in a university, and the existing locks are traditional classroom function – there was no way to lock the doors during an active shooter event without opening them and using a key in the outside lever.

Outside lever (left) and inside lever (right):


An electric strike was added, and the outside lever is kept in the locked position at all times.  If you’re not familiar with electric strikes, the strike keeper controls the latchbolt.  When the keeper is secured (when the room is locked), the door can not be opened from the outside but there is free egress from the inside by turning the lever.  When the strike keeper is not secured (when the room is unlocked), the door can be opened from the inside or outside by pushing or pulling on the door.  There is no need to turn the inside lever, although the door can be opened to allow egress that way.

Here is a video of the door being opened from the inside when the strike keeper is not secured (when the room is unlocked); the door can be pulled open from the outside as well:

A switch near the door can be used to lock the door in case of an active shooter event.  The university has used the term “barricade” to mean “lock the door”, but unlike a barricade the lock will still allow free egress when the door is locked.


There is instructional signage beside the door, and the photo on the right is a side view of the switch enclosure where you can see the switch behind the “lock to barricade” sign.  It’s possible that the switch could also alert the campus police or other personnel of an active shooter event in progress – I don’t know if this switch is set up this way, but it could be done.  The electric strikes could also be controlled from a remote location.


So, what do you think?  What are the pros and cons of this application?


Note:  I don’t know if this particular door is a fire door.  It does have a closer (which needs to be adjusted) and wired glass, which could be indicators of a fire door assembly.  To modify an existing labeled frame for an electric strike, permission for a field modification most be obtained from the listing lab, or the frames would need to be relabeled in the field.  Current editions of the model codes do not typically require fire door assemblies on classrooms.

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