Educational facilities have many doors – entry and exit, exit-only, interior, commercial sectional doors, and a few docks. Each one of these openings give us the opportunity to educate the end user in being compliant with ADA and Life Safety codes. DH Pace offers a variety of security solutions and frequently travel to schools to inspect and repair/replace for code compliance. While many educational organizations allow for individual schools to handle the securing of their own doors, we highly recommend a unified approach through the Facilities/Maintenance Department.
There are three main areas that need to be addressed for educational safety and compliance.
1. Secure the Exterior of the Building or Buildings
One of the main problem areas we see in schools are the exterior doors – too many access points that need to be removed. Determine which access points will need to be used and remove exterior access from all others. Staff and students are then directed to enter through the main entrance doors. These main entrance doors will be open in the morning allowing students to enter and then will be securely locked when school begins. In some cases, staff may be given an alternate access point where they will use their access card for a secured entry.
Too many access points create an opportunity for unwanted visitors, either by a propped door, a door being left unlocked, a lost key, or an unauthorized duplication of a standard key.
Please note: There are only two types of key systems.
A) Standard Key System – It is not unlawful to duplicate a key (this includes any type of key system that is not patented). Therefore, the end user has no control over keys being duplicated.
B) Patented Key System – This protects the end user against unauthorized key duplication.
The best approach is to help move the school to a true patented key system to immediately stop unauthorized duplication of keys (all lock manufacturers offer this solution). This simple change will immediately secure their facility and gain key control from years past.
2. Secure Access Control with Visitor Management
Ideal access control is a dual approach called “dual validation” – both an access card and a numeric code are required to open the door. This ensures that even if a card is lost or stolen, unwanted visitors can’t gain access. Door prop alarms can also be installed on exterior doors to sound whenever the door is opened, thus ensuring that the door will not be propped open. These are simple, battery-operated alarms (keyed into the end users’ master key system) making them a value-added economical solution.
One of the most desired products used for visitor management at schools is called AIPHONE. It is an Exchange-Based Video Intercom mounted at the main entrance where the front office is located. Visitors push a button, and the front office gets a live video feed of the front door and clear voice recognition to see and hear who is requesting access. The locking hardware at the front door does not need to be changed to work with this; an electric strike can be added to the door frame that is activated either by someone at the front desk or an authorized user with an access card and/or code.
3. Secure the Classrooms
There are several types of locking hardware designed for the individual classroom. The classroom “lockdown” hardware has been available since the year 2000. Most classrooms still have a traditional classroom function lock that requires the teacher to lock or unlock the lock with a key and to do so, they expose themselves in an open hallway. Some schools are now requiring teachers to always carry their key with them leaving the door locked. DH Pace recommends that no matter who holds the key, the door is always locked so teachers will only have to make sure the door is closed for it to be secure.
Sometimes schools will want to add additional locks or locking mechanisms to existing classroom doors; these locks and/or mechanisms do not meet ADA and Life Safety codes due to egress requirements.
There is a cost-effective approach and, in most cases, DH Pace can provide a simple mechanical solution making sure that all locking hardware in your facility meets or exceeds ADA and life safety compliance. In some cases, we may even be able to use your existing hardware. Give us a call to see how we can help your educational facility.