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Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship »

Access Control

First, controlling access to schools and other facilities has been conveyed in parts of other posts and comments, so thank you for bringing it up! Although I am not an expert in the subject, I thought this idea deserving of its own post. My take is, it is a good starting point for larger talks around security and should probably be discussed during planning as a mitigation technique. I do not believe access control means developing a standard for armed guards at every door, but generally encouraging each school, institution, and house of worship to think about how they can use controlled access point(s) as another deterrent.

Submitted by in Mar 2013

Comments (4)

  1. Believe, think or know? 1) Access security should be equal to/ or be better than the access to the jurisdictions Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 2) Application of design and methods within FEMA publications; 428,426, and 452 is highly advised, 3)Prohibiting unauthored entry is the core resolution. Solid doors requiring card-keys avoids an unauthorized individual breaking a glass window on a door to gain entrance. 4)Acknowledging variances in laws, regulations, and ordinances within the various jurisdictions, it is generally against the law to block exist doors, block or wedge fire-doors, diable smoke detectors and fire-alarms, and smoke on any public property, smoke in any public building, or for minors to smoke. According it is generally unlaw for those to either permit or aid-and-abet such activities. The problem in this regard is that of school staff to manage and supervise the student-body and report unlawful activity on campus to local law enforcement authorities. According this lack of management, supervision, and control even includes failure to take measures to prohibit unauthorized entrance and presence on public school properties and buildings. All violations on public school properties need to be reported to local law enforcement immediately. Accordingly, there needs to be a zero tollerance policy in effect and practiced at all times. All students, parents, school staff, and the public need to be informed that any legal violation on public school property will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Additional firearms laws, pets or attach dogs, and armed guards/police on campus does not assure a resolution to the core problem of entrance and unauthorized presence in, on, around, or about public school properties.

    These situations ultimately resulted from lack of school personnel to plan, equip, train, and exercise to national NIMS/HSEEP standards and procedures as related to schools.
    in Mar 2013
  2. In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 (Public Law 110-140), which defines high performance as “the integration and optimization on a life cycle basis of all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, produc¬tivity, sustainability, functionality and operational considerations.” The positive public attention received by this important law provides public and private sectors with opportunities to intro¬duce high-performance standards that promote the integration, compilation, and harmonization of building considerations to ensure acceptable and appropriate levels of performance-based re¬quirements for buildings to withstand all hazards. The DHS High-Performance and Integrated Design Resilience Program is based on the assumption that buildings can achieve resilience through a combination of good initial design and construction for new facilities, effective retrofit for existing facilities, and appropriate operational programs to ensure that mitigation plans are in place and the building’s systems are operated effectively. The model adopted by DHS pursues the integration of all the attributes included in EISA 2007, which are many times in conflict or regulated by different agencies or organizations. For this program, the concept of resilience conveys the ability to maintain critical operations and functions in the face of crisis, to respond and manage a crisis or disruption as it unfolds, and to return to and/or reconsti¬tute normal operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a disruptive event. Access control is one of the key considerations when determining an effective placement for a building. Designers should determine wheth¬er the building to be protected requires an exclusive or nonexclusive access zone. An exclusive zone is defined as the area surrounding a single building or building complex that is in the exclu¬sive control of the owners or occupants: anyone entering an exclusive zone must have a legitimate reason. A nonexclusive zone may be either a public right-of-way, such as plazas, sidewalks, and streets surrounding a downtown building, or an area related to several buildings, such as a courtyard in an industrial park with open access. The access-controlled zone may range from a complete physical perimeter barrier (full con¬trol), to relatively minimal anti-vehicle protection with full pedestrian access, or simple electronic monitoring of the perimeter. Some projects may require control of pedestrians. In these cases, provision of a walkway and a turnstile for pedestrians (complying with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines) should be considered.

    An active shooter is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area; in most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. This document provides guidance to faculty, staff, and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and describes what to expect from responding police officers. If an active shooter is outside your building, proceed to a room that can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights; if possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room. One person in the room should call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him/her of your location; remain in place until the police, or a campus administrator known to you, gives the “all clear.” Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.
    • If an active shooter is in the same building you are, determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described in the previous paragraph. If your room can’t be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building. If you decide to move from your current location, be sure to follow the instructions outlined below.
    • If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, try to remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to the shooter’s location; if you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place. Normally the location of a 911 call can be determined without speaking. If there is absolutely no opportunity for escape or hiding, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a very last resort, after all other options have been exhausted. If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.
    No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible. Do not try to drive off campus until advised it is safe to do so by police or campus administrators.
    In the event of an active shooter situation:
    Evacuate, Attempt to evacuate. Have an escape route and plan Leave your belongings Keep your hands visible, HideFind a place to hide Block entry and lock doors, Remain quiet and silence your cell phone or pager, Take ActionAs a last resort, try to incapacitate the shooter Act with physical aggression, Remember to always: Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit. Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers. CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!
    in Mar 2013
    1. Your comment has a lot of words but does not address the original idea. Public Law 110-140 is probably terrific, however it is unfunded. Schools will comply if they have the budget for it. There are many good ways to limit access. Any time barrier is helpful. This is proven.
      in Mar 2013
  3. Russ, agreed. Access control is a biggie. Stats show that it's one of the big life savers. Even if a bad person gains access, if you've got some barriers you've bought more time for trained responders to arrive. There are many practical barriers which can be installed at little or no cost.
    in Mar 2013

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