By Will Zurcher, Installation Manager at Kenton Brothers
Schools present unique obstacles.
- Parents don’t want to drop their children off in the morning to a building that resembles a prison. It makes sense to make sure people on the inside are safe from external threats. But we have to remember that a facility that is harder to get into is also harder to get out of.
- In the design phase, we have to always keep in mind that the majority of the users are going to be children and visitors. And they aren’t necessarily familiar with the facility, so the systems put in place have to be easy for them to use.
- There are situations when the systems we put in place will need to be bypassed to accommodate large groups of people to pass freely in and out of the building.
Realistically, with the budgets that schools are faced with, creating a 100% secure front entrance is often not possible.
When starting the design process, we must first work on funneling all of the traffic to the front entrance in order to control access to the building. This can be done with fencing to deter trespassing and limit access to secondary entrances. Cameras monitor perimeter entry points and notify staff of any unknown traffic around the facility. The cameras can double as monitoring tools for recesses and transition periods. Door “position” switches can also be installed to notify staff of any unlocked entry points.
With these options in place, any unauthorized people would need to proceed to the office in order to gain entry into the building.
Recently, front entrances have been designed or remodeled to have a double door style entrance which allows visitors free entrance into a secured vestibule area. This allows front office staff to clearly identify visitors.
In the vestibule area, there’s a second set of access controlled doors that lead into the school. There’s also a single access control door that leads into the office. These doors will be outfitted with locking mechanisms that are “fail secure”. This means that if the school loses power, the doors will remain locked.
Outside the office entry door there is an intercom system for the visitor to communicate with the office staff. If no threat is detected, the staff has a button to release the door lock, allowing the visitor entry into the office to sign in. This process allows the office staff to keep track of everyone in the building. It also allows the office staff to notify the authorities of any threats with a duress / panic button while securely delaying the threat long enough for the authorities to get there.
Kenton Brothers understands all of these situations. We help schools implement easy-to-use and reliable solutions while working with the staff to put procedures in place for emergency situations. Give us a call to learn more.