Classroom barricade devices are gadgets that can be put on the inside of a classroom door during an active shooter event in order to quickly and easily barricade the door.
Here at Invictus Consulting we frequently talk about Avoid Deny Defend as the best way to deal with an active shooter. Barricades play a part in the Deny part of the process, whereby you deny the shooter access to your location. In other words, once you’ve found a place to hide, do everything you can so that he can’t get into the room or space where you’re hiding. We usually teach people to use traditional barricade measures such as desks, chairs, bookcases, and other heavy objects. The reason we don’t typically teach people to use barricade devices is that there are many devices on the market and you never know if the room has a device, let alone which particular device it has. Moreover, the best barricade devices should be designed so that use does not need special knowledge or training to use the device.
In fact, there has been some debate recently about the advantages versus the disadvantages of the barricade devices that are flooding the market these days. It appears that many of the gadgets on the market do not comply with state safety codes. While different states adhere to different safety codes, in general it is important that an egress point:
- can be unlocked with only one operation (in other words, if the barricade device requires two or more operations to be released, it doesn’t meet code)
- can be unlocked without a key or tool (in other words, if the device requires a ket, tool, or secondary device to release the latch, it doesn’t meet code)
- can be unlocked without any special knowledge or training (in other words, if the device requires detailed training before a user can work the device, it doesn’t meet code)
- can be unlocked without special effort (in other words, if the device requires more than moderate strength or effort, it doesn’t meet code)
- can be unlocked from outside the door so that responding agencies can get into the room (in other words, if they device can only be released from inside the room, it doesn’t meet code)
Again, different states have different codes, but it’s important that the people tasked with school safety (e.g., administrators, teachers, security guards) are aware of both the pros and cons associated with classroom barricade devices.
Code compliance isn’t just about complying with local codes – safety codes are put in place because experts have weighed the pros, cons, evidence, usability, and various other factors of a policy, procedure, device, or whatever it is that is codified. Safety codes improve safety – that is their purpose. So if your school is thinking about purchasing classroom barricade devices, make sure you look at your local codes and use devices that meet the code.