Ask the Expert (Access Control)

What Should a School Consider Before Purchasing Classroom Barricade Devices, Also Known As Temporary Door Locking Devices?

Classroom barricade devices, which are added to existing classroom door openings, are not compliant with the model fire codes and building codes used in most states. These codes, designed to ensure the safety of building occupants, require door hardware that allows free egress, meets the accessibility standards, and does not negatively impact fire protection. In order for other locking methods to be allowable by code, the devices must be approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), or the code must be modified. Even if a local code change is made, some devices may not meet the federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

An additional concern is the potential for an unauthorized person to install the barricade device and secure the classroom in order to commit a crime. Once in place, many devices currently on the market restrict all access from the outside, preventing a school staff member or emergency responder from entering the room to help. School districts are advised to check with legal counsel in order to understand any liability issues that may exist.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Lori Greene, DAHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI, FDHI is the manager of Codes & Resources with Allegion.

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