For example, if students within a pod of classrooms have an alternate means of egress, and there is an assailant in a nearby hallway, an administrator using security cameras can remotely close doors to cut off a section of hallway once they have confirmed no students remain in the area. The key is to balance the need to mitigate risk from a threat and the need to enable students to escape, which can be a challenging line to walk.
Operational advances in rolling doors and grilles used for compartmentalization are changing the calculus for architects. Customizable movement capabilities have been developed that provide an added level of flexibility. Such doors allow an operator to switch between alarm inputs to mitigate specific threats in real-time. Rather than simply closing, the next generation products can close to create lockdown zones within a building when a hostile even alarm is triggered, as well as open to allow freedom of movement and emergency egress.
Unfortunately, as each tragedy occurs, more is learned about the varied security needs for school districts across the country. It is thought this knowledge will soon turn into specific guidance and even code requirements for schools in the future that identify the type of security schools should consider, as well as how to effectively design for safety while maintaining adherence to existing building codes.
Trust an expert
Before specifying high security rolling doors or other closure products, it is important to talk to an expert. Rolling door manufacturers have spent years developing solutions to combat threats such as school shooters and assailants. Some have even applied the same technology and materials that meet the Department of State standards for forced entry and protect American embassies around the world to their school safety product offerings. These advanced building products, along with finding the right balance of design and safety, may mean the difference between life and death.
Jason Millard is the product manager for fire and life safety at Clopay, Cornell, and Cookson. He has been with the company for 25 years, working primarily with the architectural community on correct product specification for various applications. Millard can be reached via email at email@example.com.