Last year, a gunman broke through the gates of Rancho Tehama Elementary School in Corning, California, and attempted to get inside the school building.
One of the school’s teachers, Ken Yuers, huddled inside his classroom with his 18 students. Yuers, a 19-year teaching veteran, knew he had to do something. He told Time, “There’s a lot of kids in the classroom. They need to see their teacher do something. You want to protect the kids.”
He used a metal computer cart to barricade the door to his classroom. Then Yuers, who is also a former military police officer, mentally rehearsed how he would stop the attacker if he came through the door to the classroom.
Not Today, Satan
Luckily, it didn’t come to that. School administration officials locked down the building as soon as they received word of an active shooter in town. Their quick action kept the gunman at bay long enough for law enforcement to eliminate the threat.
“Five people were killed and 10 others wounded” over the course of the rampage, reports Time, but all the children in the school survived the incident. According to Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston, “I really, truly believe we would have had a horrific bloodbath at that school if that school hadn’t taken the action that it did.”
As far as the 18 fourth- and fifth-graders in Mr. Yuers’ care, this brave teacher undoubtedly saved his students by barricading them in the classroom and being prepared to take action if confronted by the gunman.
Considering how important door security is in situations like this, I want to share with you a few simple things you can do to protect entryways and stop criminals from coming into your home, business or classroom.
Nightlock — One of my favorite door security products is called Nightlock. In short, it’s a grooved metal plate you screw into the floor just behind the door you want to secure. Another metal plate slides into the groove and acts as a brace to stop the door from being kicked in. In addition to the standard model for residential doors, the company also produces versions specifically designed for classrooms and office buildings. The basic version for your home sells for $40.
Master Lock Dual-Function Security Bar — This security bar is made with 20-guage steel and weighs less than one pound. One end of the bar has a pivoting ball joint with a U-shape and the other end has a padded foot grip to keep it in place. The bar adjusts from 27.5–42” in length to fit most standard hinged and sliding doors. To use on a hinged door, place the U-shape firmly against the underside of the doorknob and brace the padded foot against the floor at an angle. For use on a sliding door, place the device in the track just like a wooden dowel. This item sells for about $27. It can withstand up to 350 pounds of force, so it will definitely slow down someone trying to get through the door.
DoorJammer Portable Door Security Device — A door jammer is a great tool you can quickly put in place to prevent someone from opening a door. This device is lightweight and easily portable. It’s perfect to use at the office or in a hotel room when you travel. The DoorJammer slides easily underneath the door — no tools required. It can be installed and removed in a matter of seconds and is compatible with all types of doors. This convenient device currently sells for $30 plus shipping.
Barracuda Intruder Defense System — This security device is specifically designed for inward-swinging doors, which are common in schools and office buildings. This device is also easy to install in a matter of minutes to prepare for a lockdown situation like the one at Rancho Tehama. Simply place the device on the floor and slide the metal plates under the door. Push outward on the handles to engage the plates and then insert the pin to securely lock the device. No tools or permanent installation required. The Barracuda Intruder Defense System is more expensive than any of the options above — it costs $125 on the EMP website. But if your school or company will foot the bill, it’s a good investment.
In addition to these products, I highly recommend buying a simple rubber doorstop. A cheap rubber doorstop can easily be put in your briefcase or your child’s backpack and would at least slow down someone who is trying to kick down a door. Another DIY option I’ve mentioned before is using a belt to secure an outward-swinging door.
A security bar or door jammer can be an effective tool to help protect your space from criminals trying to gain easy entry. Door security bars and braces can be used on almost any door including residential, classroom, hotel room, dorm room and office doors.
Some door security options do require permanent installation (such as the Nightlock) but are extremely effective. At the very least these devices will buy you time to defend yourself and your loved ones.