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#301211 - 09/01/22 09:57 PM Office-School Door Security— Open & Close
Acropolis50 Offline

Registered: 11/20/19
Posts: 54
In today’s environment of possible active shooter, bomb threat, gas attack threat, etc. it occurs to me that my EDC/GHB ought to have kit to hold open , e.g. a stairwell door so I can go down a floor or two and see if I can open a lower floor door without locking myself in the stairwell. Likewise, I should be able to “Lock “ a e.g. an office or classroom door, that doesn’t have a fitted lock or top mounted auto door closer to tie-up and thereby hold it closed OR by trying to barricade it with furniture. ( Albeit ,I may want to do both ,if possible. )
That’s a tall order for small single-use devices , to carry in a sub- 10lb. EDC/GHB bag. Some considerable reflection yielded me the following answers, although I do not claim them as definitive, nor entirely original:

1) AS A DOOR “HOLD OPEN”: a Google search of “ small plastic triangular doorstops” yielded a pair of inexpensive, 2.75” x .5” , brightly colored , almost weightless , plastic wedges. Inserting them on the Hinge side , between the door and the jam, holds the door partially open, even if it is a self-closing smoke-fire door. I carry two, nestled so they take up 2.75” x.5” of space; and

2) AS A DOOR “HOLD-CLOSE: if their is a self closer at door top of a lock less door, as many videos on the net demonstrate, wrap and tie off the triangular metal arms, to keep them from operating or tie the door handle to an adjoining door handle or sturdy protrusion. If neither of those strategies are available., ( and here is my semi-original idea) ) , resort to the old college dorm trick of “pennying “ the door closed, rendering it inoperable from either side , as long as the pennys are in place. To install, press the door against the jamb or the toungue , with ur body weight, as hard as you can. This will usually create a small extra space between the lip / edge of the door and the metal door jam, mounted in the wall. Fill the gap with two or more stacked pennys and push them tightly into the extra space. It works. I can witness that from being both victim and perpetrator in college. Eventually, if those locked out ram their shoulders or full body kicks, long enough and hard enough to shake the pennys loose, it will give way. But trust me, done correctly, it is sturdy and very hard to dislodge.

Edited by Acropolis50 (09/01/22 10:00 PM)

#301212 - 09/02/22 01:43 AM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3719
Loc: USA
Duct tape and cordage fill these functions for me, and of course have many other uses. I’ve used screwdrivers, multitools, and even my keyring to prop doors open in the past (but never in an emergency).

The main downside is that these field-expedient methods take longer to deploy than a door wedge. There’s also the “Militaur” which says that it is a purpose-made door stop/door jam device. I’ve never held one in my hand and I don’t have any affiliation with them — it seems really expensive to me for a single-purpose device. I might feel differently if I were a first responder.

#301213 - 09/03/22 04:53 AM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1016
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Won't work on all doors but for a hold open, you could do the reverse of trying to open it with a gift/credit card. Place the card over the hole the bolt goes in then close the door.

#301218 - 09/04/22 04:12 PM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
Acropolis50 Offline

Registered: 11/20/19
Posts: 54
In response, I too carry 550 line or thicker Kevlar cord, as well as duct tape, but as Chaos noted, speed is of the essence in the type of situation in which they may be employed. And as UTA correctly observes, the card trick doesn’t always work and if it fails, you can be stuck in the stairwell.

Related Observation: I’m sure most of our colleagues on this forum, take note of the location of emergency exits when they enter a new theatre, restaurant, entertainment venue, etc. . Until my recent retirement, my work often took me to other offices in larger office buildings. If I was unfamiliar with the building , I took the advice I had previously read on an Internet forum ( which one ,I don’t remember), to take a photo with my cell phone, of the escape map ,wall posted by exits and elevators.

#301221 - 09/04/22 08:53 PM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
Tin Offline

Registered: 12/13/20
Posts: 22
My gear has three simple doorstops in it total cost one dollar before dollar tree changed its prices. They've never let me down.

#301239 - 09/12/22 02:22 AM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3111
Loc: Alberta, Canada
To play devil's advocate:

What if you find a lower floor door that's open? Do you go back up and lock the upper floor door that you've propped open?

I wonder about the potential effect on the effectiveness of fire doors, or on law enforcement efforts to contain an active shooter.


#301240 - 09/12/22 02:44 AM Re: Office-School Door Security— Open & Close [Re: Acropolis50]
chaosmagnet Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3719
Loc: USA
If I’m escaping a building from any kind of deadly threat, I doubt that I’m going back unless I’m forced to do so.

If this is due to a fire, the firefighters might have an issue with me after the fact.

If there’s an active shooter, there aren’t too many doors with locks that cannot be defeated with a firearm. I doubt that propping open a door changes that situation much. The tactical consideration is that the shooter may follow a trail of propped-open doors.


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