First Do No Harm: Proper Security in the Facility

Avoid problems by doing your homework before altering the security design for a facility.


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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Multi-tenant high-rises provide a special challenge. How does a tenant occupying a single floor of a high-rise protect its perimeters?

Too many times I’ve seen deadbolts installed on the entry into the stairwell or refuge. They were installed because the single tenant on the floor decided to secure the perimeter by locking up the stairwell entries onto the floor.

Another mistake is to seal the entry from the elevators by installing vestibule doors. These pose a subtle problem when a person gets off an elevator right before the building goes into fire mode. The elevator returns to the first floor and cannot be called. The person is trapped on the floor since the vestibule doors keep the person from using the refuge. A better means is to create a pathway from the elevator to the stairwells. Tenant areas can be to the right or left of the new pathway.

There may be the need to secure areas with deadbolts. Safety codes require auxiliary or deadbolts can only be installed in areas whose occupant loads are less than 10. Rather than fight or ignore the codes, work with them. Areas can be compartmentalized so that they meet code.

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