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Making Sure School Barricades are Compliant

August 19, 2019

Schools, like various other large organizations, use barricades for various reasons from guiding traffic to securing doors. Many times they need to segment parking lots or block off certain campus areas. These barriers come in various forms from portable units that allow for easy adjustments to installed devices on doorways for security purposes. All barriers must meet safety standards and be compliant with government regulations.

Growing Use of Door Barricades

In recent years, schools have widely adopted door blocking devices that prevent shooters from entering a classroom. But these barriers can potentially be a problem for handicapped individuals, hindering their ability to evacuate in an emergency. Schools should make sure that the door barricades they use comply with government codes specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The reason a growing number of community activists have come out against door blocking devices is because safety experts have warned about the risks outweighing the benefits. They also point to the devices being non-compliant with government regulations. While it’s clear that schools using door blocking devices are just trying to protect children, the controversy surrounding them is a reminder that any barrier must be compliant and take disabled people into account.

Codes and Standards

OSHA, a division of the United States Department of Labor, sets the safety standards for signs, signals and barricades. As far as traffic control signs and barricades, the standards mirror those created by the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Training programs involving traffic control need to include this information so that it’s clear what the regulations require.

Traffic barricades are commonly white with orange diagonal lines at the top. Sometimes they come in the form of orange cones or orange and white delineators.

Not only must schools comply with regulations, school visitors, such as parents picking up their children, also have responsibilities. Traffic barriers introduce rules that potentially could lead to visitors getting cited with tickets. In Texas, for example, it’s a misdemeanor to drive around a barricade on a flooded road, which can lead to an arrest and a fine of $2,000. Of course, each state has its own laws about how drivers must respond to barriers.

School officials need to make sure they are using proper devices for traffic control purposes. Certain units, for example, need retro-reflective capabilities to meet codes for channeling traffic, such as blocking off lanes. Temporary traffic barriers must be placed properly. Signs designed to keep traffic away from road closures must also be compliant.

One of the best ways to make sure your school is using the right signage or devices for barriers is to work with experts who are experienced with signs and barriers. A sign maker that works with multiple schools has the knowledge of what the local codes require, along with MUTCD principles. By working with experienced experts you will avoid the controversies that schools are facing with door barriers.


Barricades are useful devices for creating divisions between public and restricted areas. At the same time, they must be selected carefully and set up properly to avoid fines. Contact Zumar for more information about signs and barricades at our Arizona, California and Washington location.

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