Small but mighty: Device is designed to thwart an active shooter

Inventor Rick Shaffer points to the blue Rapid Barricade installed on a door handle as Bob Booth, district facilities manager, inspects it.

      Assuming he obtains a permit from the city, Bob Booth will begin overseeing the installation of a Rapid Barricade lock on the inside of every classroom door at the Spanish Immersion School. The device is designed to thwart an active shooter.

      Booth, Mansfield City Schools facilities manager, explained the project to the board of education Tuesday.

      The Rapid Barricade is a small aluminum device that hangs on a door handle like a “Do not disturb” sign. With the flip of a finger, it slips into a sleeve on the door jamb, making the door virtually impossible to open from the outside.

      Because the barricade turns with the inside handle, those in the room can open the door immediately to get out.

      The Rapid Barricade devices are being installed now at Spanish Immersion, Booth said, because the aging classroom door handles must be replaced with “flippers,” or lever-activated handles to comply with requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

      “It makes sense to do this now at Spanish Immersion because we will be replacing the door handles anyway. Otherwise, the handles would have to be removed to install the Rapid Barricade,” Booth said. “The cost of the project is $8,080, the bulk of it for the door handles. There is not much cost involved for the Rapid Barricade.”

      The Rapid Barricade was developed from the idea of Rick Shaffer, maintenance supervisor at the Mount Vernon City Schools. He and business partner Chip Zolman are selling the patent-pending devices through their company, RB Solutions of Fredericktown.

      Published reports said Shaffer installed the Rapid Barricade on 153 doors at Mount Vernon’s high school and middle school for about $14,000. The units also have been installed at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

      The state fire marshal already had approved the device, Booth said. The Mansfield Fire Department added its blessing Thursday. The district is waiting now for approval of an installation permit from the city’s codes and permits department.

      In the event of an unanticipated emergency, Booth said, the building principal and the fire department will have a special tool that can open a Rapid Barricade-locked door from the outside.

      Booth told the board of education he will talk with them again about possibly expanding use of the Rapid Barricade throughout the district, starting with the high school and middle school this summer.

      Literature from RB Safety Solutions that was shared with the board Tuesday said the Rapid Barricade “was created to secure doors in the event of an active shooter.”

      “The Rapid Barricade is a temporary door locking device that provides an added level of security, while meeting all nine federal safety requirements,” the company said.

      “Our goal was to develop a device that could be engaged with the motion and power of a single finger, while leaving the ability evacuate as easy as turning the door handle.”

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