News Briefs April 2011

March 9, 2011

Marks USA Supplies Institutional Life Safety Locksets

Marks USA has supplied Atascadero State Hospital & Rehab Center with their Grade 1 Institutional Life Safety Locksets. Atascadero State Hospital (ASH), opened in 1954 and is an all-male, maximum security forensic facility serving the entire state of California. ASH is a completely self-contained psychiatric hospital constructed within a security perimeter.

Marks USA’s Grade 1 Institutional Life Safety locksets are designed to address Managed Liability, Accident Prevention, Life Safety, and Security in Behavioral Health Care Institutions. The shape and construction of the SS55 Series Locksets are designed to restrict the attachment of lines, laces, etc. to door knobs. In addition, with the knobs recessed into the rosettes, the chance of capturing a line between the knob and rosette is substantially eliminated.

The SS55 Locksets are currently in use at Coney Island, Bellevue and Jacobi Hospitals in New York, the Denver V.A. Hospital in Colorado and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California.

 For more information visit

ALOA Scholarship Foundation Update

The ALOA Scholarship Foundation (ASF) reminds the locksmith community that the deadline for ALOA Convention scholarship applications is quickly approaching. All applications must be received 90 days prior to ALOA. (ALOA begins Aug. 6 in Nashville, TN.)

Applications may be submitted throughout the year for locksmith/security training and must be received at least 60 days prior to the requested classes. All classes must meet the ASF education criteria.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the application, visit

ASF introduced a new Student Benefactor Program in 2010. Security professionals, distributors and manufacturers can make a single donation to provide a student education at the ALOA resident school, national conventions, or other classes that meet the ASF educational criteria.

The ASF Board of Directors would like to extend special thanks to the following nine manufacturers who have committed to this program as of March 1.

  • Abloy Door Security
  • Arrow Lock
  • ASSA High Security Locks
  • Consolidated Safes
  • International Fire Door Inspector Association
  • Kaba Ilco
  • Kaba Access Control
  • Lucky Line Products
  • Medeco Security Locks
  • Mul-T-Lock

In addition, ASF thanks its industry partners who donate each year. Last year, Allstate Insurance and Professional Business Products donated in excess of $1,000 each.

The ALOA Scholarship Foundation will also hold its annual banquet during the ALOA Convention. Make plans to attend the ASF Banquet on Friday, August 12 from 7-10 p.m. in the Gaylord Opryland Delta Area. Tickets include food, live entertainment and a little southern hospitality. Dress is casual. All proceeds from the banquet benefit ASF programs and services.

Established in 1993, ALOA Scholarship Foundation is an independent, educational, non-profit 501(c)(3), tax-exempt corporation. All donations are tax deductible. The mission of the ALOA Scholarship Foundation is to provide educational services, programs and assistance for the locksmith/security industry.

ASF is a separate corporation from ALOA and is managed by an independent, voluntarily board of directors. Although both organizations have similar goals, scholarship decisions are made by the ASF Board. For more information, visit

NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire

Led to Tougher, Safer Building Codes

A New York City factory fire that killed 146 garment workers a century ago was the impetus for legislation advocating for tougher labor laws as well as building codes promoting safe working conditions.

March 25, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire at the Asch Building, now called the Brown Building and part of New York University in lower Manhattan. In less than 30 minutes, 146 young women, mostly Jewish and Italian immigrants, perished in the blaze because exit doors had been locked making their evacuation impossible.

“This tragedy ushered in an era in which building codes were put into place to promote safe egress in all public spaces,” said Mark Berger, chairman of the Codes and Government Affairs Committee for the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA).

“BHMA has taken a leading role in working with code-writing bodies to ensure that the standards that have been created are also reflected in the code process,” said Berger, president and chief product officer for Securitech. “The great effort now is creating mechanisms to ensure that emergency doors are regularly inspected for functionality and compliance, as required by code.”

The deadly fire started on the eighth floor when a cigarette or a match was thrown in a bin full of flammable fabric scraps and quickly spread to shirtwaist patterns made of tissue paper that hung above the worktables.

The fire quickly engulfed the ninth- and tenth-floors when an air shaft at the rear of the building funneled smoke and flames trapping workers inside and causing some to jump out of the windows to their deaths.

Exit doors had been locked as a theft deterrent because it was believed that garment workers were stealing. However, Berger said there was a New York State labor law prohibiting such practices at that time.

“There was a requirement that doors to work spaces had to remain unlocked while a facility was occupied,” Berger said. “This is the same basis of all codes which followed, with the creation of emergency exit hardware and their required uses as the major code improvement.”

Other contributing factors included blocked staircases and an inadequate fire escape that didn’t have a drop ladder installed. What compounded the problem further was that the fire truck ladders only reached the sixth floor.

Today, code enforcement and vigilance is key to life safety and security for any building owner. A good example of this is the September 11th tragedy, where 95 percent of the people working below the impact area of the Twin Towers were evacuated safely, as a result of vigilant adherence to the codes requiring unimpeded access to working exit doors, Berger said.

BHMA is an industry leader in building safety and security. BHMA is the only organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain performance standards for locks, closers, exit devices and other builders hardware. The widely known ANSI/BHMA A156 series of standards describes and establishes the features and criteria for specific types of hardware products. In addition, BHMA sponsors third-party certification of hardware products, which is a requirement for a product to bear the “BHMA Certified” mark — insuring that the product meets the ANSI/BHMA standard. For more information on BHMA, please write to BHMA, 355 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY, 10017 or visit the Web site at

LaserCard receives U.S. Green Card Order

Optical security media ID cards from ASSA ABLOY’s LaserCard to be issued under the Department of Homeland Security’s US Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) program.

LaserCard Corporation announced receipt of an order for approximately $8.6 million for optical security media cards to be issued under the Department of Homeland Security’s US Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) program. Delivery is scheduled for completion in August, 2011.

“The US Green Card has set new standards in security and functionality for government programs worldwide,” said Robert DeVincenzi, president of LaserCard Corporation.  “It is the world’s first implementation of optical security media for visual and data security and an RFID tag for accelerated border crossing, and it incorporates a host of security innovations.”

 “The specification of LaserCard’s optical security media for this high profile and critical application is evidence of the company’s innovative technical leadership in the secure credential arena,” said Denis Hébert, Head of HID Global which recently completed the acquisition of LaserCard. “It is a key component of the compelling advantages we will jointly offer as a single source of complete e-Identity solutions.”

In December 2010, ASSA ABLOY acquiredf LaserCard Corporation, a leading provider of secure ID solutions to governments and commercial clients worldwide. It develops, manufactures, and integrates LaserCard® optical security media cards, multi-technology cards, encoders, peripherals, smart and specialty cards, biometrics, and modular software. The Company’s cards and systems are used in various applications, including citizen identification, border security, government service delivery and facility access. Information: