There has been a major increase in the concern for lock safety in schools. This is due to recent events of security at different school levels; parents, teachers, and the general community are worried about how to keep children safe in the school environment.
This has generated the involvement of several companies and businesses related to the locksmith are to start providing products to deal with the safety of locks in different schools. This increased interest in protecting and offering lock with safety at the target has been promoted by the terrible news of shootings all over the United States in different levels of the education system.
The technological aspect has exerted great deal in the selection of improved devices, but in most cases budgets are a handicap when the finished products are offered. And the presentation of devices with features that can be tricky at the moment of offering protection would be a controversial one as many of the shown so far have been.
But some baseline actions should be clear at the moment of providing security and safety to kids, without regarding the device that has to be used. To ensure classroom safety, schools should:
- Keep doors locked, except during changing periods.
- Doors should be kept closed while the classrooms are being used – giving a faster response to lockdown rooms in an emergency situation.
- Take into consideration the use of bullet resistant film or shades.
- Develop a safety plan which includes the protocol that staff should follow as well as place to hide in case of an emergency.
Besides that, schools should also consider several aspects that go along with the implementation of security hardware and the protocol to be followed. For example:
- The severity of the danger.
- The probability of the occurrence of this hazardous situation.
- The effectiveness that the mitigation of the danger would provide.
- The ability of personnel to implement lockdown
- And the budget is an important factor to determine the amount of investment can be done to acquire the right equipment and the training staff for preventing this situation.
But most of all, there are some measures that do not help in the reduction of the risk involve in any emergency situation. When the case is dangerous, the following actions are not supposed to be done:
- The use of hardware that requires the permanence of a person outside of the classroom to lock the door, with the increase exposure to the intruder r any conflict taking place in the hallway.
- Hardware that allows anyone – students included- to take control of the opening of a door.
- Any magnets or tapes that restrict the latching of a door, which also goes against the fire code regulations.
- Non-automatically close school doors, which would not permit the possible lockdown in an emergency situation.
- Removable or non-attached to the door hardware, which demands the movement of the mechanism to the door by staff in the middle of the presence of a risk.
- Any hardware that permits the entrance and exit of people in an emergency.
- Anything blocking an entrance to emergency responders.
- Options for non-authorized people in the faced emergency, such as visitors, students or another staff member.
When the emergency is presented, the lockdown can take place according to the device installed in the school. The procedure can vary and it can be:
- Manual, requiring a key to manually lock rooms or spaces and being the most economical way of all lockdown solutions. When this is the action choice, a person has to be responsible of having the right key in hand and be placed at the correct opening during the lockdown situation; otherwise the situation can get out of control quickly. This sort of lockdown depends on the reliability of the staff assigned with the function of locking the door at the emergency scenario.
- Remote, which is offered to those schools that need to improve the security issue without paying for a networked system. This can be activated by remote fob nearby to the door. The remote lockdown requires the involvement of a single person to initiate the lockdown mode and it is the most economical solution in the electronic area.
- Centralized, an integrated system that allows the lock of doors through the whole institution form a central location using software that guarantees general access. This lockdown plan is initiated by authorized personnel and allows simultaneous lockdown of buildings or campus along with the specific combination of access control and hardware from a distant location and at one single place.
Most of the devices providing safety in schools come with verification at a simple glance of the locked or unlocked status of the door from inside the classroom. This feature is a benefit for daily or emergency use. Indicators should be part of the general security pal, since they provide with precise information about the locked door by checking it through the distance. The usage of these indicators would serve as a form of alleviation in terms of avoiding confusion at the moment of an emergency.
In spite of budget limitations, there are safety protocols that can be followed in order to reduce the threats of any violent act. There are ways to get enough funds to upgrade all the safety devices installed in any school and thus offer a better security plan to staff and students. Schools should take advantage of the diverse programs existed in several government dependencies willing to offer discounts and that complemented the budget assigned to schools by the department of education.
Locksmiths professional and companies are deeply involved in the designing of software and hardware to be employed in case of a school lockdown, but several of them recommend the usage of several procedures like the one stablished by Allegion Lockdown Protocol or applications such as ASSA ABLOY Site Assessment program or the SAVI designed by the people of Napco Security Technologies.
Furthermore, the implementation of some other protocols as the one designed by the people of Stanly Security called BEST SHELTER. This procedure allows school administration the ability to offer a code operated mechanical device with all the proven technologies to make the school a safe and out of danger place.
Options are plenty and they are supported by locksmiths organizations and businesses in different parts of the surrounding areas.