An essential element of a comprehensive security program is the facility security layout. The design of the layout includes many considerations. Protected areas need to be designated at the proper level. The egress from protected areas must be unobstructed, within the requirements of life-safety...
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An essential element of a comprehensive security program is the facility security layout. The design of the layout includes many considerations. Protected areas need to be designated at the proper level. The egress from protected areas must be unobstructed, within the requirements of life-safety provisions, while still offering enough control that paths leading out of the area are predictable and securable. The right types of doors and related hardware need to be matched with the intended level of security and functionality. All components of the design must deliver the proper amount of security without inhibiting the work within the protected area.
Customers’ needs and expectations relating to security must be evaluated and carefully incorporated in the design. Consult with specialists whenever possible and review the design from time to time.
Never install, repair, or maintain security hardware that has is unsafe. Remember the Physician’s motto as it also applies to locksmiths: “First do no harm.”.
It is important to note that the application of untried security components within the facility can be problematic. In some cases, issues arise that degrade both security and life safety.
In an East Los Angeles convenience store, the clerk was behind the counter and almost completely enclosed in thick polycarbonate. Although the thickness suggested that the enclosure could withstand most forms of hand-weapons, the walls of the enclosure stopped at about 18 inches from the ceiling.
Of course the intention of this type of installation was to prevent robberies, but the space above the walls created an unforeseen security risk. Nothing stops a perpetrator from tossing over a simulated lit stick of dynamite. The clerk would most likely race from the area at breakneck speed, without activating a duress alarm. Not only is the perpetrator free to raid the cash drawer, but the clerk might get hurt in the process.
A recent trend in banking is to retrofit the entry with a “man-trap.” Figure 1 is a picture of a typical trap that includes bulletproof doors and a controlled vestibule where patrons must identify themselves before entering. To comply with life-safety regulations, the exit out of the portal is either by a “request-to-exit” signal from the security guard or by delayed-action exit device.
This type of installation inhibits the majority of perpetrators, but attracts a more dangerous brazen type. Once inside either by posing as a customer or actually having the foresight to be a customer, the robber can overpower the guard and then control the coming and-going of the bank by its own access control.
I was asked to repair locks at a facility that collected cash. Routinely the employees were locked into the building while working. Internal vestibule doors were protected with auxiliary electrified fail-secure deadbolts. The electrified deadbolts were tied into an interlock system that prevented the deadbolts from being energized (allowing access) if an exterior entry door was left open
All exit doors were fortified with double-cylinder deadbolts above the exit devices. Other than the doors, there is no means of egress as the brick building has no windows.
In the case of a power outage, there is no battery backup. The armed guards from within must release an exit door by unlocking the double-cylinder deadbolts. In the case of fire, there might not be enough time to do this. Because of the precarious design of the locks, the guards would be more likely to fight a fire then call the fire department.
Parts of the building are so designed that if an occupant were in a room when there is a fire, the only means out would be through a vestibule door. During a fire these doors require electricity and the entry door to be closed to allow egress. These requirements assuredly guarantee the occupant would be trapped.
Limit personal liability by knowing the codes and regulations in your jurisdiction.
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