Security design typically receives less planning and attention than other school safety measures such as fire suppression.
Rare tragedies like school shootings underscore the need for appropriate security measures in school systems, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Implementing certain security features can be at odds with other building safety features needed to protect people from fire and other hazards, though.
In an effort to balance security and fire safety features within codes, standards, and planning, NFPA hosted a two-day workshop, “School Safety, Codes and Security”, last December. The meeting included a broad cross-section of stakeholders who influence the decision-making process of school design, administration, operation, and the critical planning elements that first responders have to manage when an active threat occurs.
The findings from that workshop are now available in an NFPA report, "School Safety, Codes and Security." Now, the challenge is to review the report and determine how and where codes, standards, recommendations and planning scenarios can be revised to ensure that security isn’t an afterthought, NFPA says.
This will require a comprehensive effort from the standards and first responder community, as well as from the school administrators consisting of faculty, staff, parents, and those who manage finances.