Report: The Passing of House Enrolled Act 1270 and School Safety
CIH has been a longtime advocate for school safety, so the passing of House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1270 is much-welcomed news. We believe being part of the community includes speaking up concerning issues that affect the safety, security, and convenience of our schools, neighbors, and beyond.
In light of this, we have partnered with several key stakeholders in the area of school safety and have advocated for comprehensive school safety policies. This includes but is not limited to removing barricade devices from classrooms and replacing them with properly designed door hardware that would not compromise student safety at any time.
DHI on the Senate Floor
DHI is leading the charge by petitioning the Senate for change in school safety codes. Ron Couch, our own CEO and Chair of the Advocacy Committee and President-Elect of DHI’s Board of Governors, has been on the Senate floor testifying about correcting Indiana State Code language that allowed for barricading in classrooms due to the activation of a fire alarm. Below is a report of the recent achievement towards safer schools.
Door and Hardware Institute (DHI) and House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1270
DHI worked to amend this section of Indiana code to ensure that schools develop plans to address unplanned fire alarm activation as part of their Emergency Operation plan. In addition, our position strengthens the rules against devices used to block a door, and ensures ADA compliance.
Since the advent of this project, we have moved our amendment between two different bills and had to work against other amendments that were contrary to the ADA and life safety codes.
DHI received the support of several groups in the state to help advance our amendment, including American Institute of Architects – Indiana, Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, and the Indiana Fire Chiefs’ Association. We also appreciate the willingness of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for working with us on this issue.
Throughout 2021 and into the 2022 legislative session, DHI will be working with the lobbying firm to identify other legislative opportunities in the state while educating legislators on school security and safety issues that will continue through the remainder of the year. The goal of this project is to create a replicable bill for other states to adopt and for the industry to use in order to advance our school security and safety initiative.
In the end, DHI was able to:
- Remove the term “barricade” from Indiana codes.
- Improve the fire alarm sequencing language and require schools to develop plans for unplanned fire alarms that do not include a 3-minute lockdown.
- Clarify and update outdated definitions by adding “electronic” to “special egress control device” which now applies to all public buildings.
As published in the Apr 2021 DHI membership newsletter, reprinted with permission from DHI
CIH will continue to advocate for enhanced school safety and security with a more comprehensive approach that will involve several stakeholders. More to come on this!
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