Key Control and Door Hardware: Security Considerations
Inspection, testing and maintenance considerations for maximizing performance and protecting occupants and facilities
Key control is always a hot topic in security and access control. Only personnel authorized to enter a given room or building should have a key or electronic credential. Managers need to document a policy that requires key or credential return when individuals are no longer authorized to use it.
Failing to return or deactivate keys such as after a termination and voluntary separation, can adversely affect facility security. Managers should implement software to track users of system keys and their permissions. Software administrators can even log and serialize each key via a stamp so if a key is ever found, it would be possible to identify the person had lost or misplaced it.
Building occupants with keys should be able to quickly recognize which key will unlock and lock their door, as well as whether that same key will operate the inside cylinder. Classroom security locksets allow a person to lock or unlock the outside handle using the inside cylinder while providing free egress at all times.
Practicing manual lockdown procedures during drills is essential. For example, during an assessment at one school facility, a teacher who did not understand how her lockset worked was observed relying on wood wedges to keep the door open. She went into the hallway and put herself in potential harm’s way to lock her door during drills, even though she could have locked and unlocked the door from inside the classroom.
Prioritizing security and access control in facilities requires that managers and their staffs take a closer look at door-hardware systems and components, inspect them routinely, address repair and maintenance issues, educate building occupants, and conduct drills. From compliance with fire safety code to lockdown capabilities, now is the time to invest in protecting people.
Paul Timm — email@example.com — is vice president of Facility Engineering Associates, www.feapc.com. He is a board-certified Physical Security Professional (PSP), the author of School Security: How to Build and Strengthen a School Safety Program, and a nationally acclaimed expert in school security.