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Locking Lessons Learned from Uvalde21/12/2022
Locking Lessons Learned from Uvalde I’m a veteran with more than 40 years in the lock industry. As a professional, the objective of my earliest locking adventures for schools were to prevent the theft of desktop computers from classrooms, protect school building perimeters, and prevent child abductions by restricting access to nursery schools. Yes – a properly applied lock, even one without electronic connection, can do that.To get more news about lock manufacturer, you can visit securamsys.com official website.
Times have changed. I look at school buildings differently now, both as a father and as a lock manufacturer. Combatting today’s security and life-safety challenges mean that school and campus facilities must be examined and evaluated even more closely. The Robb Elementary School tragedy highlights this in very stark terms.
When there is so much commentary flying around, when legislatures are moving faster than common sense, and when manufacturers of harmful, less-effective solutions are lobbying for federal dollars, I think it’s important to take a step back and review some of the agreed-upon leading practices and solutions for protecting students and teachers while at school.
We have evolved into a society where we no longer accept that everyone can freely enter spaces. We limited our access to airports in response to hijackings and other terrorist events. Entering a ballpark or Broadway theater now involves magnetometers and bag checks. These are locations where security officers are deployed at the primary entrances, while reliable, code-compliant locking is in place on secondary entrances and exits. Securing the perimeter of a school is no different. During high traffic periods (start and end of day), administrators or teachers should be present at each entry/exit door for students. Where security officers or resource officers are not present during the school day, there should be an intercom and electric door release system for visitors. We always recommend an interior vestibule as a second point to delay direct entry into the school once someone passes the street door.
Other perimeter doors, whether they are emergency exits, parking lot access doors, playground access doors or classroom access doors, need to be secured at all times. This is one of the most difficult rules to maintain. After all, there are periods when children are continuously going through these doors. It is not uncommon to see these doors propped open with a little cord around the handle, a wedge at the bottom of the door or something as simple as a pebble to allow free return into the building.
Classroom Locking The highest rates of fatality often occur when students and teachers are in classrooms when an active assailant enters a school building. This was the case in Uvalde, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech .
Therefore, the ability to quickly secure classrooms is critical. Not send an alert, not fumble for keys, not contact the authorities. When a gunman enters a school, the first step to prevent tragedy is to lock the classroom door and shelter. There may not be time for any other action. It took only 24 seconds from the time when the Uvalde shooter entered the school to when he entered the classroom. This is the starkest acknowledgment yet of how important it is to be able to instantly secure a classroom door. Imagine being a teacher, charged with the protection of a classroom of children, and only 24 seconds or less to do so. Putting a secured door between you and an assailant in that moment is the fastest and best solution to prevent assault and harm.
In the final report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, it is stated there has never been a breach of a locked classroom door during an active shooter event. This emphasizes the importance of this basic rule. The classroom lock MUST be capable of locking from the interior. This has been the primary guidance from the Department of Homeland Security for more than 20 years. Opening the classroom door exposes the teacher and students to potential harm and identifies an open door to an active assailant. Yet, many locks rely on keys for deploying latch locks and bolts from either side of the door.
Remember those 24 seconds we discussed earlier? To lock a door from the inside, one person – typically the teacher – possesses the key. So if they are present, they will have to locate the key, approach the door, lock it, and ensure it is locked. That is not as simple as it sounds, as we know that stressful situations complicate performing the simplest of tasks. Inserting the thin key into a lock and remembering which way to rotate it can waste precious seconds.
Knowing there is a gunman on the other side of the door with a room of terrified children behind you, who among us can say with full certainty that we would be able to locate a key and operate a lock in under 24 seconds? And there’s always the chance the teacher is not in the classroom, may have trouble finding or holding the key as panic begins, may not have the key on them, or know the protocol. The latter two points factored into the loss of life in the classroom with the greatest loss of life at Sandy Hook.
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