Can classroom doors be locked to prevent an intruder from entering? Can a fire alarm system be disabled to prevent it from being used to draw people outside? These are among the more frequently asked questions about school safety the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has received from administrators and community officials working to protect their facilities from acts of targeted violence.
While the response to these types of questions is fairly straightforward and direct from the code perspective, the answers don’t easily translate to those who aren’t familiar with fire and life safety codes. The approach to retrofitting a classroom door with a lock, for example, is more complex and nuanced. This can be particularly frustrating to school administrators who are reaching beyond their traditional roles to ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff.
In an effort to give schools the guidance and direction they need and help clarify the challenges around these issues, NFPA has developed a new resource to help them effectively, reasonably, and cost-effectively move forward. This document also works to keep schools from making well-intentioned but misguided decisions, particularly as they continue to receive calls from businesses and organizations selling products, resources, and strategies for keeping everyone safe.