NFPA School Safety Report: Standards Need to Account for Security Devices

The detailed report summarizes the results of the NFPA School Safety, Codes and Security Workshop, held in December.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released a comprehensive report following its School Safety, Codes and Security Workshop held at the end of last year. The workshop provided a forum to review current understanding related to school safety, to identify gaps and to propose actions to address those gaps.

RELATED: Door Locks and Hardware Solutions for K-12 Campuses

Attendees worked to identify and understand the competing objectives of fire codes and emergency lockdown situations, in order to pinpoint those areas which may require modification. In the report, the NFPA states it anticipates changes to codes, standards, procedures, policies and operational tactics to take place in the near future.

Spurred by a substantial rise in school shootings in the United States, local and regional fire marshals are repeatedly fielding questions regarding how to lock classroom doors properly in the event of an active-threat emergency and if security products on the market comply with existing egress standards. As it stands, most security devices currently available do not meet the existing requirements.

The NFPA session addressed this issue and identified a number of priority areas for regulatory code changes. Included among these priorities are: coordinating and modifying existing codes to address conflicts between security and safety, egress, and locking procedures; enabling code exceptions for lockdown procedures, with definitive procedures and life safety mechanisms; and developing new door-locking procedures and technologies.

“We are encouraged to see that the NFPA and other participating organizations have recognized that modifications must be made to existing codes in order for new life-saving devices to be utilized,” says Tom Crowley, president of The Bilco Company, manufacturer of the Barracuda intruder defense system. “In active shooting incidents, assailants strive to do as much damage as possible in a short amount of time. Because these situations are sometimes over before law enforcement arrives on the scene, it is vital for school or building occupants to be both mentally and physically prepared ahead of time.”

To read more about the workshop and download a copy of the detailed report, click here. For more insights into securing K-12 campus settings, see “Electronic Security Elevates Its Education Market Standards” in SSI‘s July issue.

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