The Locksmith’s Role in Rapid School Lockdown

Dec. 1, 2016
A strong door supported by quality lockdown products can buy teachers and their students valuable minutes until first responders arrive on the scene

As locksmiths, our role in school security is to offer quality mechanical, electromechanical, and electronic security/locking solutions designed to save lives and minimize injuries during a shooter incident. One of the reasons why locksmiths are key to this mission involves the inherent need for a strong physical security presence on a classroom by classroom basis. The reason for this is simple, it’s the first few minutes upon a shooter’s entry when the most damage is done. A strong door supported by quality lockdown products—such as electronic and electromechanical locks, all of which we have to offer—buys teachers and their students the valuable minutes they need until first responders arrive on the scene.

 “The most recent data released by the SAVD Surveillance System cover the period from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. During this period, there were a total of 53 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Of these 53 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths, there were 41 homicides, 11 suicides, and 1 legal intervention death” (Violent Deaths at School and Away From School,

In addition, according to CDC's School Associated Violent Death Study, between 14 and 34 school-age children are victims of homicide on school grounds on their way to and from school—each and every year.

 “Most school-associated violent deaths occur during transition times – immediately before and after the school day and during lunch” (Injury Prevention & Control: Division of Violence Prevention,

The CDC cites the following facts:

  • Violent deaths are more likely to occur at the start of each semester.
  • Nearly 50 percent of homicide perpetrators gave some type of warning signal, such as making a threat or leaving a note, prior to the event.
  • Firearms used in school-associated homicides and suicides came primarily from the perpetrator's home or from friends or relatives.
  • Homicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 5-18.

In terms of the U.S. student population, there are more than 98,450 in K12 in public school settings, 30,000+ in private schools and nearly 4,800 in 2- and 4-year colleges and universities.  The CDC findings clearly underscore the importance of prevention where it comes to violence.


Considering the unprecedented number of school shootings over the past few decades, school administrators and local law enforcement find themselves in a situation where they are forced to do something to minimize the potential for an event in their own local school system.

Security experts in both the public and private sector pretty much agree that the best defense is a good offense. The proactive approach to the threat is important, and with that in mind it’s imperative that school officials have the tools they need to quickly detect an event in its early stages so they can lock down an entire campus of school buildings in a matter of seconds.

The fact is, schools are “soft targets,” which means those who work and attend classes there are vulnerable simply because they do not have a ready-means of defense against a threat, like a shooter armed with a lethal weapon.

The School Lockdown Concept

The very idea of locking down an entire campus when gunshots are heard or detected is enormous--enough so that it’s difficult for some of us to wrap our minds around the concept. Armed with gunshot detectors, lockdown can be automatic and almost immediate. Emergency manual pull stations installed in key locations manned with school personnel also can be used for human initiated lockdown situations. Where seconds count, near immediate lockdown is critical.

ProTech Security has a solution, one designed to meet the school active shooter problem. It’s called the Situational Awareness Security Control (SASCTM) platform. The system is based on a core software platform--enterprise or web enabled. The system is designed to bring event-based, full-actionable access to 911 and public safety dispatch centers for a more immediate reaction by first responders.

 “It connects and manages disparate building and security technologies such as video surveillance, life critical systems, radar, analytics, HVAC, PIDS, GPS tracking, and GIS mapping,” says Daniel McKimm, founder of ProTech Security of Canton, Ohio. “Through aggregating intelligence from these systems, it allows organizations to react faster and more precisely to events as they occur.” 

In other words, besides being monitored by a typical central monitoring station, earning your company a monthly fee, critical emergency signals can be routed direct to first responder dispatch points for even faster response. In this case, central monitoring station operators can be used as a primary or secondary response service always ensuring the event is acted upon.

Using a COP (Common Operating Platform), the 911 dispatch PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) now receives more than just a phone call from a monitoring station. The COP itself is a single screen designed to deliver a comprehensive analysis of the situation, versus the stereotypical phone call from a central station operator to a 911 dispatcher. The legacy model leaves all kinds of information to the presumption of 911 dispatchers.

ProTech Security’s SASCTM is capable of viewing both GIS aerial view of the facility along with the address integrated with Google Maps or any other database GIS system. It also receives a designated script of the action to be taken relative to the critical event, thus providing a forensic view (a 10-second clip of what occurred before the event) from the associated camera(s) closest to the trigger. At the same time, and on the same screen, it also receives a real-time view of what’s happening now at that location.

The intent of SASCTM is not to eliminate central monitoring station involvement but to hand off timely, critical shooter event information to 911 dispatchers in a more efficient, expeditious manner. This assures that 911 PSAP information is received directly with follow-up by our 24/7 central monitoring center operators.  

According to McKimm, ProTech Security works with security professionals, including locksmiths, where it involves installing SASC in a school or multiple buildings in a campus environment. For more information, go to:

Wireless Lockdown

The amount of cabling and expertise required to successfully integrate the various tech-driven silos to make such a system work is immense to say the least.  With that said, not all lockdown systems require the high degree of sophistication that McKimm’s SASCTM requires. In fact, some systems also minimize the amount of cabling that must be installed by using one of many radio-based technologies.

Sargent of New Haven, CT, an Assa Abloy company, offers mechanical and electronic locking solutions designed specifically for K-12 settings.

The Profile Series v.G1.5 is an electronic classroom lock designed to operate in standalone mode. As an access control lock, it provides functions that are typical to those used in classroom settings. Access from a hallway requires a PIN (personal identification number). A second option centers on the use of a HID 125 KHz proximity card.

What makes the G1.5 unique is the fact that it allows for rapid lockdown using a fob that a teacher can wear around his or her neck. Activation takes place using an encrypted radio-frequency (RF) technology that allows the teacher to quickly lock the door up to 75 feet away, which includes almost anywhere inside a classroom. Multiple classrooms also can be simultaneously locked from a central location inside the school.

The vG1.5 supports 2,000 user codes and will retain up to 2,000 events for forensic investigation after an event has taken place. Another option includes the use of dual factor authentication using the outside keypad.

The vG1.5 is available in mortise lock, cylindrical lock, or in exit device configurations. Programmiong is performed using SoloPlusTM Access Control Management Software using WindowsTM using a CD-Rom drive, a data transfer device, or a PDA. For more information, go to:

The Schlage AD-400 series lock is one wireless classroom lockdown solution that locksmiths should consider. It uses 900 MHz spread spectrum with AES-128 bit key data encryption to send secure signals from the lock to a centralized access control host computer. A pendant worn by teachers enables the almost immediate lockdown of a classroom on an individual basis. When activated, the lockdown event can be transmitted to a central hub where it will get school official’s attention. At that point they can manually invoke a full-scale, school-wide lockdown.

According to Schlage, “The AD-400 wireless networked lock gives you many of the key benefits of a hardwired access control system — without the wires. This allows you to secure doors that were traditionally difficult to run wires to in the past—and increase the security throughout your facility.”

Wireless applications and accessories available for the AD-400 series lock includes a remote gateway, elevator and portable (mustering) applications, as well as use of smart/mobile devices as a credential with aptiQmobile™, a multi-technology reader application.

The SHELTERTM product by Stanley is a responsive building security system designed specifically to protect soft targets within educational K-12 settings, commercial businesses, healthcare facilities, high-rise office buildings, colleges and universities, and more.

The terms "soft target" indicates an environment where those who spend time there are naturally vulnerable because they lack an adequate means of self protection. At these locations people often congregate in large numbers. Besides schools, the “soft target” designation pertains to national monuments, hospitals, sporting arenas, hotels, and more. The Shelter product is

designed especially for environments where a timely, armed response by law enforcement is questionable or unlikely.

“BEST® SHELTER™ is an emergency lockdown solution that can secure individuals behind a locked door quickly and safely,” says Joe McCormack, President, STANLEY Mechanical Security. “With an increase in mass tragedies that are usually over in five minutes or less, the Shelter fob by BEST allows for quick communication with the Shelter wireless system to initiate a lockdown and third-party notification of an event.”

Shelter operates wirelessly on the 900MHz radio frequency (RF) band. The system consists of a gateway with one or more wireless repeaters; a wireless fob that a teacher or someone else can wear, in a shirt pocket, or a purse; a wireless cylindrical lockset (the model 9KX by BEST), and an electric exit device (the PRECISION Apex 2000 Series “E”).

The gateway connects to the Cloud via the Internet and it can be interfaced with up to eight repeaters to accommodate large buildings. Transmission distance is typically 200 feet, or up to 1,000 feet line of sight. For more information on the BEST® SHELTER™ system, go to:   For more information on the BEST® SHELTER™ system, go to:

Note, STANLEY, BEST, and PRECISION Commercial Hardware are widely available nationwide to locksmiths through regular distribution. STANLEY works directly with locksmiths and  other security professionals through the company’s “ELITE Partnership Program.” STANLEY will assist you in developing the necessary skill sets needed to install the SHELTER school lockdown system. For more information on the ELITE Partner Program, go to:

One of Alarm Lock’s newest products for school security is the Model DL2700LD Trilogy® T2 Digital Lock with LocDown™ Indicator and compact lockdown keyfob. At the first sign of trouble, faculty  and staff can remotely press their pocket-sized keyfob’s button to lock out unauthorized access, instantly locking-down a classroom or area, while remaining safely within the room. Keyfob activation up to 100’ away, depending on building construction.  For multi-classroom users, up to 50 keyfobs can be supported on each lock and each keyfob can control up to four locks.

With Trilogy’s lockdown function, only users with a security level of Master or Manager are allowed access and can unlock the lock. All other basic user codes are denied access during emergency lockdown. However, an instant return to normal command  can be sent from a keyfob, re-enabling authorized teachers/staff and first responders outside the classroom, thus disabling emergency lockdown at any time.

Alarm Lock’s SAVI project ( School Access Control Vulnerability Index) provides the school a quantitative measurement of their current security and how to improve against an active shooter or intruder.  This takes a holistic spproach without bias or listing any manufactures and can be used by anyone. Alarm Lock has a special school security website with more information:

A separate product, Networx is Alarm Lock’s wireless solution for locking exterior, interior perimeter  doors at the lock, using a keyfob and/or from the PC. Networx and ArchiTech Locks are a global solution using a customer’s IT network, our gateways (radio transmitter) to send radio signals to Networx locks.

CIC Enterprise from sister division Continental Instruments is an Enterprise Access Control front end that can manage both traditional wires access and wireless Networx/ArchiTech locks.

LocDownTM Classroom Intruder Locksets by Marks USA of Amityville, NY, a NAPCO company, are designed to allows teachers to lock their mechanical cylindrical or mortise locks from the inside so they do not have to leave the room for even a second to secure the lever on the hallways side of the lock.

According to Bill Spore, vice president of sales and marketing with Marks USA, "The lockdown can be used for old schools K-12. The cylindrical lock app goes into a cylindrical lock opening with a 2 1/8 in bore. Allows the teacher to lock or unlock the outside lever, allows them to lock the inside handle so the outside is locked in case of an emergencies.”

Although most modern schools are using cylindrical locks on classrooms, there are a good number of mortise locks in use as well, especially in older schools. This makes the LocDownTM system ideal in retrofit situations, too.

 “The second application is the mortise lock. On this lock, on the interior, there's an indicator that shows whether the teacher has locked or unlocked the outside lever. Also, the key can only go in one direction so in an emergency, even if the teacher gets flustered, they cannot make a mistake and unlocking the outside lever," says Sporre. For more information on the LocDownTM, go to