GROWING CONCERN OVER OUR SCHOOL'S SECURITY
TDC has made schools safer though evaluation of existing conditions, smart design and consultation with trained personnel. Some design questions and concerns to be considered include:
· Can office staff observe approaching visitors before they reach the school entry? A receptionist’s desk should be properly positioned to eliminate blind spots and provide direct line of sight between the receptionist and security personnel. Computer monitors and other objects should be located in such a way as to not block view of people approaching the building.
· The entrance should be easily accessible and clearly signed. Importantly, main access routes should not allow opportunities for informal unsupervised access to other parts of the school.
· Secure all secondary entries making them alarmed emergency exits. This obliges all visitors to use the main entry. Electronic controls governing the front door enable the receptionist to immediately lock doors against a threat. Communication devices should make it possible to alert the entire school that a lockdown is in place. Graphic electronic signage can also be located within corridors, gymnasiums, cafeterias and other public spaces alerting occupants of a theat.
· Parking and drop-off areas should accommodate both student and visitor traffic during school hours.
· Public spaces used for after-school events should not be located in the building’s interior, but rather along the building’s exterior perimeter that can be accessed without entering the central academic areas of the building.
· To improve visibility, tint windows or install overhanging eaves to create shade instead of using blinds.
· Consider the use of exterior lighting to identify the main entrance to the building. Distinctive lights, such as lighting with a different intensity or color near the main entrance will identify the entrance and let people know where to go. Ample lighting around the school’s exterior provides security personnel greater visibility and discourages loitering and trouble-making.
· Landscaping at the entrance that does not provide a potential hiding place, or obscure the views of security personnel. Trees also should be place and trimmed so they cannot be used to access the roof.