- 16 Sep 2019
How Entry Vestibules Boost School Security
School systems all across the country are looking for new ways to increase the safety and security of their students and staff. Previously, we’ve discussed how Panel Built helps with Increasing School Safety Measures with Guard Booths. However, Panel Built offers more than just guard booths to help schools and campuses with their security needs. Panel Built’s line of entry vestibules also offers a number of added security benefits to school or facilities of any type!
Panel Built’s prefabricated entry vestibules are often utilized as a way for a facility to save on energy costs, especially during harsh weather seasons. They keep the facility closed off at all times by creating an enclosed buffer-zone between the outside environment and the inside of the facility, helping the facility maintain a more constant temperature by keeping outside air out and inside air in. This way facilities can save a lot of money in the long run by not having their HVAC systems running all the time. This is especially helpful in facilities with a lot of foot traffic in and out, leading to the entrances doors being open and closed often.
However, having this barrier at the front of your school system can create a benefit for the school’s security as well. The additional room that the entry vestibule creates at the front of the school can create what is known in the security world as a mantrap. The rooms are referred to as such because they quite literally can be used to trap a man (or a woman or even a child!) from entering into your facility. The vestibule is able to do this by keeping the all door sets in the room locked whenever a person is inside.
How Would Students Gain Entry?
From there, some sort of ID check would be required to allow access. There are a variety of ways that facilities go about authenticating and approving the guests that enter and exit their facilities. Today, many schools are opting to equip all of their students with their own student ID badges. The ID badge will typically have a photo of the child and either a bar code or QR code that may be scanned, allowing entrance into the facility (Some schools also require an ID scan for students in vehicles to enter a closed off-campus parking lot or deck as another access control measure). Or the kids may be issued an identification number similar to how many school lunches operate. Another alternative would be having a member of the school security staff monitor the vestibule with him/her having control of the locks.
Typically, these systems operate in a couple of ways. First, they can have what is essentially a two-step verification for the entry of the facility. In this case, the building would use two different forms of Identification (so an ID card and PIN code for example) for each of the doors. This a very high level of security and is typically utilized in places like government buildings.
So How Do These Entry Vestibules Protect Schools?
Typically, these systems operate in a couple of ways. First, they can have what is essentially a two-step verification for the entry of the facility. In this case, the building would use two different forms of Identification (so an ID card and PIN code for example) for each of the doors. This a very high level of security and is typically utilized in places like government facilities. This likely would not be required in most schools.
For most schools, a simple, single-step verification with one or two sets of locked doors would likely be fine. In this case, the first set of doors could either be unlocked or locked. If unlocked, the first door would immediately lock once a person entered. From there, the person could exit the vestibule using a form of Identification. If the outer door is locked, it would have the ID verification and once the person entered, the inner door would remain locked until the outer door was closed. A form of vestibule monitoring (either manual or technological) should be employed in these vestibules in order to ensure no more than one person enters at a time.
But, what if a person really wanted to get in? What if they knew this vestibule was protecting the school building and came prepared to get through it anyways?
Ballistic Entry Vestibules Can Help Solve This Problem
Just like Panel Built’s ballistic rated guard booths, Panel Built’s line of welded steel entry vestibules can be designed and fabricated to meet UL 752 and NIJ ballistic ratings standards. For those unfamiliar with UL 752 and NIJ, they are Underwriter’s Laboratory and National Institute of Justice’s individual standards on bullet resistance for materials. For an example of each organization’s Levels, see the charts below.
In the event that a potential threat to the school was carrying a gun with him to a standard, non-ballistic rated entry vestibule, the double-locking ID verification would not provide a lot of help. As most mantraps and entry vestibules are fabricated from mostly a transparent material to provide visibility to security to see the foot traffic through or law enforcement in the case of an actual trapped person inside. However, these windows can also be seen as points of vulnerability for assailants trying to get through the vestibule through force. Using a ballistic rated entry vestibule will help ensure that if the threat attempts to shoot their way into the building your school will have top of the line protection.
You can use the charts above to help determine what level of ballistic rating you think would work best. Generally, Panel Built most often sees UL 752 Level 3 protection used in the majority of our ballistic rated projects. This will typically be for government buildings or military applications. However, if you think you’re facility could use a higher level of protection, let us know, and we would be happy to provide you with a higher rated design, or if you need help determining what ballistic level would work best for you, just let us know. We have a group of knowledgable reps that frequently work on ballistic rated projects that would be happy to help you out.
If you have any questions about Panel Built’s Ballistic Rated or Standard Entry Vestibules for your school system, just give us a call at 8006363873, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask us in our LiveChat feature in the bottom-right of our page. We are always happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have!