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School district adds new layer of security to school buildings

October 3, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Last month every door in Canfield School District's four buildings were outfitted with a new security device. All doors now have extremely loud alarms attached, preventing them from being opened during the school day.

"This all started through conversations with students and staff," said Superintendent Alex Geordan. "Sometimes we may think all is going well, but it is always best to get other opinions."

He said it was brought to light that while most doors in the school buildings are covered by a camera, but some are not covered by humans on a regular basis. It was also noted that students would place a stick in the door to prop it open for friends, and the doors would actually get left open. In looking at how to address the situation, a discussion took place with S.O.S. Security systems. That company informed the school district of a device to meet the need.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Canfield's Superintendent displays the small alarms that have been installed throughout the district to bring an added layer of security to students and staff during the school day.

"[S.O.S.] said there are devices used at the YMCA to prevent unauthorized access to the swimming pool," Geordan said. "The devices are also used by senior citizen facilities to warn of someone trying to exit the building."

The devices, called Exit Stoppers, are not much larger than a standard smoke alarm. They fit on top of a door and use a key to activate or disengage. When activated, anyone opening the door would be faced with a very loud alarm that will have adult staff checking it out immediately.

"We purchased around 60 of the units at a cost of roughly $3,000 and had them installed on all the doors in the district," Geordan said. "Staff and custodians were given a key."

He said the students know not to open the doors and set the alarms off. Should someone want to try it as a joke, the security cameras will record who did it.

While Exit Stoppers do add another level of security, it did add a brief point of confusion for students. Geordan said the district holds monthly fire alarm drills to get students used to exiting the building. At first the students, mostly the young ones at the elementary buildings, felt they shouldn't open the doors without permission because of the alarms. The students were later told that in an emergency it would be a good thing to have the alarms go off if there was a real fire.

Geordan said the custodians turn the Exit Stoppers on prior to the start of school, and turn them off when the school day is over. During the school day, the devices ensure all points of access into a building are locked to the outside and remain that way unless a staff member opens it and oversees it.

He added the funds for the alarm system came out of the district's permanent improvement funds.

"This was just another way to enhance the safety of our buildings to protect our students and staff," he said.



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