The device is called the Life Bolt. It is a simple metal device, that requires no training, and is inexpensive. It has been tested by engineers and teachers and is what many are backing as a creative and safe solution to secure classroom.
It works by drilling two receivers to a door; one on the jam and one on the door itself. A metal ‘U’ shaped bar then slides down into them. “It doesn't change the environment,” said created Bill Letson of Armof Solutions. “It’s non obtrusive, it doesn't show like it’s a lock device, it’s real simple to use teachers don't have to read a manual they don't have to know they have to push a button.”
Letson created the device and has gone through many phases of the Life Bolt. Now, he said this device is ready for classrooms during a code red active threat situation. The metal bar is light weight, strong, and it can hold closed against hundreds of pounds of pull pressure.
It has been tested by first responders including fire officials on a state and local level as well as teachers and school administrators. “Parents are sending children here, they are putting their lives in our hands while they’re at school, and we will do anything in our power to make sure we keep them as safe as possible,” said Alycia Trakas, a principal at a Connecticut elementary school.
The device has been installed in her school and it is testing it. She has posed multiple scenarios to Letson, as well as design options, and ideas to make sure it works. The Life Bolt continually holds up it its promise to keep someone from getting into the room. Letson said the bolts strategic position and design will keep a room and its occupants safe.
In nearly two years since the tragedy in Newtown, Trakas’ school and hundreds of others across the state have made security improvements. Many have added surveillance cameras, key card systems, armed guards, glass, and tighter perimeter security. Trakas said the device and its simplicity doesn’t solve all security problems, but can at least stop a threat from breaking into a classroom.
“It could be the difference between life and death for our staff members, our students, and anybody who’s visiting, so, why would we not want to put something in place that is going to do that,” said Trakas, adding that even if one human life is saved, it would be a positive step towards protecting our children in a code red situation.
Life Bolt is working with state officials to get this into classrooms in Connecticut. It is patent pending and would cost about $150 to install per door.