National Association of State Fire Marshals Resolution on Classroom Door Security & Locking Hardware
Approved July 27, 2015
WHEREAS, the ability to protect students and teachers while in the classroom is a high priority in all educational institutions. Many schools and school districts have taken measures to address this pressing concern of safety of occupants in classrooms in the event of a threatening situation. Some of the proposed or implemented solutions specifically affecting classroom doors, while well intended, may compromise aspects of life safety while attempting to address security.
WHEREAS, in addition to the demand to protect students and teachers from outside the classroom threats, building codes or fire codes may require classroom doors to function as firerated doors or smoke and draft control doors. Fire-rated doors and smoke and draft control doors are required to be self-latching when closed to ensure the doors perform their intended protective function in the event of a fire.
WHEREAS, building codes, fire codes, and life safety requirements include the ability to readily unlatch the door from inside the classroom with one motion without the use of a key, a tool, or special knowledge, or effort to facilitate immediate egress from the classroom.
Classroom doors are required to meet Federal accessibility laws and building and fire code requirements which include the ability to operate door hardware with no tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist; door operating hardware must be located between 34” and 48” above the floor. Federal accessibility laws and building codes require the bottom 10” of the push side of the door to be a smooth surface.
WHEREAS, when selecting hardware which allows classroom doors to be lockable from inside the classroom, consideration should be given to the risks and potential consequences of utilizing a device which blocks the classroom door from the inside. For example, devices which prevent classroom doors from being unlocked and openable from outside the classroom may place the inhabitants of the room in peril. In addition to the requirement that classroom doors must be unlatchable in a single motion from inside the classroom, these doors should always be unlockable and openable from outside the classroom by authorized persons.
RESOLVED, by the National Association of State Fire Marshals this 27th day of July 2015, that the attached NASFM Position Statement on Classroom Door Security & Locking Hardware – which includes a School Security – Suggested Classroom Door Checklist – is hereby adopted and approved;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Position Statement be distributed broadly to all interested parties with the goal of achieving awareness of the fire safety issues involved in classroom door security, and the mandatory legal requirements in federal, state local laws and regulations applicable to classroom door security and locking hardware.
James Narva, Executive Director