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State Fire Marshal orders change

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In the spring of 2015, during a routine inspection, the State Fire Marshal issued an order to MPS to discontinue use of the magnetic locks on doors.

  • Magnetic door locks are those that can only be opened in an emergency or by an authorized person with a key.  
     
  • Magnetic door locks are interconnected to the fire alarm and automatically deactivate in the event of a fire emergency.
     
  • Magnetic door locks prevent anyone from entering or exiting the building.  

The State Fire Marshal ruled these locks are a problem on doors that serve assembly areas. The concern was that occupants would not be able to exit in a non-fire emergency.  This has been rectified by the elimination of magnets on these doors.

  • The district collaborated with principals in the fall of 2015 and determined there was security value in keeping some of the magnetic locks, so MPS appealed the order.
     
  • Together, MPS and the State Fire Marshal collaborated on a workable plan to maintain safety from both an emergency and building security standpoint.
     
  • The solution was to maintain magnetic locks, with the exception of those on doors that directly serve assembly areas (gymnasiums, auditoriums, cafeterias).
     
  • The Fire Marshal mandated that these particular magnetic locks be removed in order to allow crowds to exit easily during non-fire-related emergencies.
     
  • Over winter break, magnetic door locks in assembly areas were converted to “emergency exit only” doors and equipped with audible door alarms.
     
  • If someone exits through these doors, an alarm will sound, ensuring staff members are aware whenever the doors are used without authorization and outside of emergency circumstances.

MPS is looking into the possibility of adding and/or updating cameras at these doors to provide additional security.