SecurityWorldMarket

22/06/2021

California school district heightens lockdown security

Parsippany, NJ (USA)

Redlands Unified School District, located in San Bernardino Country, California., hosts more than 21,000 students across its 16 elementary schools, four middle schools and four high schools. School security is paramount for the district. In recent times, it has taken extra precautions, including a focus on lockdown procedures across its locations and the district office.

The district’s security team took into consideration each physical layer that needed protection at Redlands High School, from the district level to the classroom—and many openings in between. Redlands School District has now started district-wide implementation of a full-feature enterprise access control system through Vanderbilt, which is capable of operating across different schools, campuses and other locations. Redrock Security and Cabling, Inc. implemented and continues to support the solution.

“When these systems are managed district-wide, schools have the ability to lock down a door at a time, a school at a time or an entire district at a time,” said Jennifer Martin, director of system sales at Vanderbilt. “It’s all about protecting the students.”

Addressing vulnerable areas

With electronic access control on main points of entry and many assembly areas, plus secure mechanical locks on classroom doors, Redlands High School had most of the layers prepared in the event of a lockdown event. However, the school’s cafeteria, Terrier Hall, was a vulnerable space.

“Hundreds of students use Terrier Hall,” said James Fotia, director of maintenance, operations and transportation at Redlands Unified School District. “In a lockdown situation, that’s a place where we would secure the kids and keep them safe by clustering them into that area and having it locked down. But it was secured by one AD-400 lock on a pair of double doors. That was incomplete.”

To demonstrate how the school could affordably secure big banks of doors without having a reader on each opening, Allegion representatives recommended a new K-12 security solution from Von Duprin.

The Von Duprin RU retrofit option is a cost-effective solution for openings with existing exit devices that enables remote locking, or undogging, for centralised lock down. This enables staff to initiate an immediate campus-wide lockdown from a secured location instead of putting themselves in harm’s way to manually undog exit-device doors throughout the building. Integrated request to exit (RX), latch bolt (LX) and door position switch (DPS) signals are included to provide real-time remote monitoring and confirmation of the security status of the door.

Scheduled events

There’s also a “dog on next exit” feature, which is a scheduled function sent to the device to allow the door to remain unlocked the first time someone depresses the push pad of the exit device to leave that space. The door is secured in the evening, and with “dog on next exit” enabled at a specific time in the morning, staff simply depresses the push pad to unlock the door. This makes unlocking the door simple for scheduled events and daily lock-up easy by reducing the need to distribute keys to staff. 

“The Von Duprin RU option fits into special applications that haven’t been addressed in the past,” said Russell Gamble, end user consultant at Allegion. “There are several openings that will benefit from this secure lockdown solution.”

There was also interest in implementing the solution at the district office. “The district office is a converted warehouse, so it was never really meant for meetings and offices,” said Fotia. “Having the Von Duprin RU has been a wonderful fit in providing security in an unideal building.”

At both locations, the Von Duprin RU options are integrated into the Vanderbilt solution and part of the broader lockdown solution.

Improved lockdown, greater peace of mind

Redlands Unified School District is pleased with the addition of the Von Duprin RU to its school security plan. Integrating the solution with the Vanderbilt system along with the Schlage electronic locks on campus has improved lockdown. According to the district’s coordinator of operations and facility planning, Ken Morse, it’s also improved peace of mind because there are less errors and more control over these areas.

In the cafeteria, Terrier Hall, they’re able to secure doors that used to be manually controlled. This eliminates human error and the risk of manually locking doors in an emergency. Fotia said the school also likes the budget-savings aspect since it was able to simply upgrade the hardware it already had in place versus purchasing entirely new equipment. He’s excited to see other areas where the Von Duprin RU might be a fit.

“The security measures and the lockdown capabilities are the main reasons we wanted the Von Duprin product,” said Morse. “Putting something on a schedule is also a great bonus because of how many common-use facilities we have. We’ve found that scheduling it is relatively easy. The doors are open only when they need to be. We have everything scheduled at the district office so it’s open during our hours, which has been a huge benefit.”


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