1 | Risk assesment
Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the buildings design and layout. You will need to have a full evaluation of existing security and hardware systems such as the school’s physical characteristics, security technology, and safety and security-related policies. You will need to consider three levels of security: perimeter, front entrance and reception areas and the core.
2 | Perimeter
Regarding the perimeter, facility managers need to consider the amount of exit and entry points, which will be dependent on the size and layout of the school grounds. Incorporating some level of electronic access control should be a consideration, whether that is a combination of electronic and mechanical door hardware, or a complete electronic solution.
3 | Access
Front entrance and reception areas should restrict visitors from freely accessing the school. Latches on access-controlled egress doors can be electronically controlled. Exit or entry doors can be opened by a push from the inside and, if the entry area is also an emergency exit, electronically powered panic bars can also be provided.
4 | Core
The core consists of the areas that should foster the safest environments for pupils (think classrooms or corridors), while also providing protection as they often contain confidential information, expensive equipment or chemicals. Both electronic and mechanical solutions can be utilised and integrated to provide simplified yet improved security levels.
5 | Security systems
As schools are ‘open environments’ integrated security systems are needed and, because of the Internet of Things, this is now a more achievable and viable option. With cloud-based access control, facility managers can simply issue and retract access credentials, meaning entry can be allowed or denied based on person, access point or time of day.
6 | Lockdown
Have an effective lockdown procedure in the event of unauthorised access. Regarding layers, every school is made of the exterior (such as the parking area) and interior (like classrooms). The procedure must cover this. There must also be trained people on site to make sure protocols are followed in the event of an emergency.
7 | Educate
It is also important for teachers and administrators to be aware of and educated on security systems. This means knowing how a certain security system works and how to spot a faulty product. Adequate training also means all staff will know how to support an effective lockdown procedure and how to facilitate a safe escape.
8 | Pupils
Aside from staff, you will need to implement strategies for pupils to follow too. Encouraging pupils to keep fire doors closed, for example, will help suppress the fire in an emergency situation. It is also critical that school children know what to do and where to go during a lockdown.
9 | Assessment
To reduce risk and liability, schedule monthly risk assessments of your security implementation. It will also ensure all systems are up to date. As part of the assessments, schedule mock security checks and debriefs afterwards.
10 | Ideas
For more ideas on how to guarantee the safety of students, download guides and resources, some of which can be found at allegion.co.uk.
How to implement an effective lockdown procedure
Not only is safety a basic duty of care, but it is also essential for productive learning. Although your school may be secure – it may not always be safe.
In the event of an intruder, for example, a school should have an effective lockdown safety plan, including staff protocol and the introduction of secure door hardware that enables a faster lockdown.
Facility managers should install the appropriate hardware based on specific performance. In addition, implementing adequate staff training on how to use it correctly is also extremely necessary in emergency lockdown plans.
When it comes to maximising classroom security, staff and teachers should have the protection of students and themselves high on the agenda. Safety plans must be clear to all so that in the event of a natural disaster, for example, lockdown can be carried out as quickly and smoothly as possible. For a quicker lockdown, the plan should also include staff protocol and specific places to hide.
To ensure that the procedure is effective, facility managers could hold regular mock drills and make sure everyone on the site is aware of the school map, escape routes and how to secure classrooms or communal areas.
Staff and teachers should also be able to identify faulty or damaged fire doors and security systems. On top of this, using accredited installers (such as MLA Locksmiths) who have been qualified and trained for the job is also important to ensure hardware has been fitted correctly.
Every school building is different and is made of many components. Therefore, hardware and systems that have been selected based on each building and performance requirements of the school ought to be installed. When refurbishing or undertaking new build extensions, facility managers should also look closely at how people use and move around the building.
Certain hardware, such as panic hardware and exit devices are designed to aid exit in an emergency. Hardware that connects to the fire alarm – such as electromagnetic door closers – also eliminates the practice of propping doors open and aids free passage in high traffic areas, maximising safety.
During a lockdown, staff should immediately lock all doors and windows and turn off all lights. Account for all school children by doing a register and keeping them inside the room. While keeping the children calm, quiet and alert, make sure
Karen Trigg, Allegion UK. Find out more at allegion.co.uk.