School Security Products That May Be Dangerous
It would be highly useful to have a definitive list of security products currently being used in schools that are dangerous. But that’s near impossible. Pretty much most security products on today’s market can help in some type of scenario. The problem lies with saying these products can help in all scenarios. At Downs Security Solutions, our security professionals have both done and seen a lot when it comes to security. We’ve installed, repaired, and maintained many security systems and products in Atlanta, Georgia schools, so we’re seen and heard from those in these same schools what may be dangerous.
Of course, most products can be dangerous when not used correctly or being used in an isolated setup. And when they’re not used correctly, it’s typically a result of inappropriate and/or ineffective training and communication. Funding difficulties force school officials and administrators to sometimes take shortcuts or to choose fewer implements than they’d like. This is just one of the many factors that can play a role with inadequate and dangerous end results.
That’s what our focus of this list is, some of the products we’ve witnessed not being used appropriately––not necessarily the products themselves. It’s when our professionals have seen these products and/or systems being used ineffectively that make them a danger. This is where things can go wrong.
Products and/or Systems
• Barricade door devices––Barricading classroom or school doors from the inside with barricading products like bars across doors, devices attaching to door handles, or devices sliding under a door, in most cases, are a violation of fire codes, according to the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM). Though these devices may seem to protect what’s inside the door from outside aggression, statistics prove that the number of fires still overwhelmingly outnumber the number of school shootings. When these barricade devices are used inappropriately as a continuous exercise, the danger increases. Again, school shootings aren’t the only school security issue security measures are addressing; however, the implementation of this device seems to focus entirely on this scenario.
• Traditional classroom security locks––Most classroom locks require a teacher, or someone else, to walk outside the classroom to lock the classroom with a key. In the case of a school shooting or other outside violent act, this obviously defeats the purpose of keeping everyone inside, safe—and locking the door simultaneously. Access control systems with different locking devices, like magnetic or electromagnetic door locks could address this effectively.
• Magnetic strips for door frames and locks––These magnetic products that seem to be in many schools now attach over the door frame strike plates, preventing the locked doors from latching. In case of an emergency, the teacher can simply remove the magnet and the door locks. The most dangerous issue here is these products violate the International Fire Code. Along with this, inappropriate removal of the magnet by others or forgetting to remove the magnet at all can cause dangerous results.
• Metal detectors––Assuming metal detectors will stop all violence in schools is wishful thinking. Obviously they’re not going to stop a gunman, so to think metal detectors alone can keep your faculty and students safe is dangerous. However, metal detectors can be highly effective at flushing out students who bring guns or knives to school. But they should be only one of several systems used for effectiveness.
• Security cameras––Security cameras can be another effective product or device in school security. However, for them to be effective, there needs to be cameras monitoring most places in the school and someone continually watching the camera monitors. The cameras give a false sense of security and are dangerous if no one is monitoring what’s being shown and/or there are only a few cameras in place.
• Door buzzers––Door buzzers can be the first step in security; however, they cannot be the only step. Also, proper training and adherence to the training is imperative for a buzzer to even work as designed. What our professionals have seen are people being buzzed into schools without any type of checking prior to being buzzed in. Or they’ve seen the first person being approved for entry and being buzzed in, then a second person squeaking in right behind the first without any type of authority check. The lack of training in how to properly respond when buzzed in, as well as improper training for those manning the buzzers, can be dangerous.
When it comes to school security, there’s no price that can be put on the safety of school faculty and students. Because of this, many schools are spending thousands of dollars on security devices that may not only be used ineffectively, but they may be used in a manner making them dangerous. Perhaps the schools are only paying for peace of mind instead of actual security when these devices are being used incorrectly. At Downs Security Systems, we train you and communicate the proper usage of our security devices to be sure of their effectiveness. Call us at 404-873-2515 to see how we can help.