Access control systems are great, they keep schools safe by allowing only the right people in and out of the building. So how does that work when the fire alarm goes off?
Will panicked teachers be frantically trying to remember access codes to unlock doors? Are your fire doors left unlocked during school hours - potentially resulting in a run away child?
With fire drills being a regular event at most schools, these factors will usually have been considered, with workarounds being made. While that may be safe for evacuating staff, pupils and visitors, it can cause additional work for members of staff.
For example, the caretaker who has to walk around the school every morning, unlocking and checking fire doors. Then, in the evening, closing up again.
This wastes their time which could be better spent and means they have to carry around a huge bunch of keys all the time and remember which one is which.
An effective access control system can do this for you. With the right system, your connected doors can unlock automatically when the fire alarm rings, allowing for a safe evacuation without worrying about whether doors have been unlocked or not.
These systems can be controlled from a central location in Reception, so staff can see that the fire escape routes have automatically been unlocked.
It's really that simple!
Installing a system to do this isn't difficult, if you know what you're doing. However, the potential repercussions if you get the installation wrong are huge.
So, before you think about getting your caretaker's electrician friend to install your access control system, imagine a fire has broken out in your school.
The alarm goes off and the staff start to evacuate everybody from the building. Everything is as calm and orderly as the last time you practised this, except this time there is a real fire.
Walking down the hall, the children from class 2a see smoke billowing from one of the cupboards and start to panic. There's a door to the car park in the hall and the teacher leads her class there, doing her best to calm the children as she goes.
But the caretaker was ill today and whoever did the rounds forgot to unlock the door this morning. It doesn't open.
Seconds pass and the hallway starts to fill with smoke. Another teacher hurries forward with a spare set of keys, and opens the door, allowing the children to pass through.
In a fire, a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
If your system is faulty, or doesn't have the correct features, it could cause a delay in evacuating a burning building. When every second counts, it's important that you can rely on the security you have installed in your building.
With proper installation and maintenance, your security system will work when you need it most, but how can you tell if the contractor you use is competent to install your system?
We recommend checking to see if your installer is NSI accredited and has previous experience providing security solutions to schools. For security gates and bollards, you need to look for DHF approved installers, or risk prosecution if somebody is injured by, or as a result of your system!
Whoever you choose, accreditations are a vital element that shouldn't be underestimated, so make them a deal breaker! Click the image below to find out why over 200 schools in Essex trust Blake's for their Fire and Security Systems...