At The LockOut Company, one of the questions we sometimes get from perspective LockOut System customers is, “Why do I need a door barricade?”. We understand this question, and have actually given it a lot of thought ourselves. If a building already has locks on the interior doors, what’s the point of a secondary door barricade?
We’ve found that the best way to address this question is to first think about the door capabilities, then think about the cost to replace doors versus the benefits of a door barricade if the doors are not as strong as we would like to see, then we think like an intruder, and see what would happen should we challenge the current door structure.
Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll discuss how a door barricade stops intruders, and why these devices can be more effective than a standard door lock.
Many doors with standard locks are simply ineffective against a determined intruder. While it is true that door locks on standard doors can be effective against an intruder that does not make a determined attempt to access the room, any real effort against a traditional wooden door will almost undoubtedly allow entry to the room.
Specifically in the case of wooden doors, door structure is an important determining factor in whether or not a door barricade will be an effective deterrent, and indeed whether one needs to be installed. In the case of The LockOut Company, should the building we are evaluating already have heavy, solid steel doors with large double deadbolts, we may determine that our door barricade, The Boot, would only be extra protection and may not be a requirement. In this case we would evaluate other potential necessities to harden the exterior and interior of the building such as Ballistics Shields, as well as The SmartBoot System for communication and alerts in the event of a lockdown.
If, while evaluating the building, we find wooden doors, older doors, doors with weak standard deadbolt locks, or any other door type that could lead to easy room entry for an intruder, then we usually recommend installing door barricades on all doors where fire code allows for the installation.
Of course, costs are always a factor when it comes to any decision to upgrade or replace any hardware in a facility, especially one such as a school where funds are limited. Luckily, most door barricade devices are cost effective ways to strengthen interior doors. Installing new heavy steel doors can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per door, and may not be more effective at stopping intruders. As an example, The Boot has a tested and certified stopping power of 16,000 pounds, which is more than enough to deter even the most determined intruder.
With available financing and the affordability of door barricades, they are often a more cost-effective option than installing new doors throughout an entire facility. However, if a facility management team decides to purchase doors instead, we understand why that may be the case. However the leaders of a facility decide to pursue building safety, as long as there is an attempt being made to protect building occupants, there is always a path forward.
Think Like An Intruder
While putting yourself in the shoes of someone that is attempting to harm innocent people is never easy, it’s important to understand how these individuals work so that we can better defend against them.
When it comes to door hardening, understanding that most of these intruders will only make a cursory pass at accessing the room which they are targeting provides important information about their psyche. Most of these people are hasty, and, at the end of the day, are cowards. In many cases, they will move on to an easier target as soon as possible.
Knowing this, we understand that the stronger the door, the more quickly the threat will move on, so we strengthen the door as much as possible without violating any fire codes and taking into account egress for the room. By balancing the safety of the occupants within the room from an intruder and the ability to exit a room, or for law enforcement to enter, we can create the most effective solution possible that will keep danger out, and safety in.
A Note On Door Barricade Deployment
For a door barricade to effectively stop an intruder it must have the ability to be deployed to full stopping power nearly instantly. If the device does not deploy in under three seconds, or requires complicated procedures that may prove difficult in a high-stress lockdown situation, the device becomes less effective as the time to deployment increases.