Facility and Risk Management Tips presented by www.solidrockfacilitymanagers.com
A multilayered approach to school safety is critical for student well-being.
We continue our series today on school safety with focus on impediments and school approach to security
Carving Away Impediments To Community
Transparent glazing can provide multiple forms of protection. It also contributes to a design that supports student well-being. Whereas opaque materials can meet both fire code requirements and best practice security recommendations, they do not contribute to an open, welcoming environment. This is especially poignant given that intruders and active shooters are not the only instances of violence at schools. Bullying and other forms of student-on-student violence can be a serious concern.
According to a 2018 survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects, high school students indicated one of their most desired architectural features was open sightlines across multiple spaces and levels.
In fact, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects, high school students indicated one of their most desired architectural features was open sightlines across multiple spaces and levels. Their reasoning was that this helped reduce the areas where students could be isolated and vulnerable to threats and bullying. Transparent materials contribute to these open sightlines while also providing critical protections to other threats.
Furthermore, research into the consequences of security measures has indicated that some actions and equipment may increase feelings of alarm and concern among the student body, which can work against building a sense of community. As such, facility managers and design teams need to weigh the impact some security systems may inadvertently have on a school’s population when choosing a solution to increase school safety.
An Incremental Approach To School Security
A multilayered approach to school safety can help ease the burden of creating a campus with every security measure in one phase. Facility managers and school administrators can work with their districts and budgetary allocations to determine which aspects of their security plan are the most pressing and which can be incorporated later to complement a base level of security.
No matter where a school starts in the process, multifunctional, fire-rated glazing can be an important link between each phase of an incremental approach to school safety. For instance, these systems can support exterior surveillance by allowing occupants to view the grounds in real time. They can also work with access control systems by further fortifying a door assembly or entry vestibule. The glazing’s ability to integrate various security measures also enhances the effectiveness of each and of the entire security plan. And multifunctional, fire-rated systems can do all this without compromising an assembly’s fire rating; they can be integral in linking voluntary security improvements with requisite fire safety.
Just as individual schools and districts can take a step-by-step approach to improving the level of campus security, it is important for everyone involved in building safer schools, from architects to building managers, to understand that establishing best-practice recommendations is only one step in the process of creating safer schools. An important next step is to codify standards for building security. In doing so, designers and administrators will know what their buildings may need to be as secure as possible.
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