Post -by Gautam Shah
A door is a prime target for an intruder for two reasons: a door is the entrance to a building, so a break-in here equals, to capturing the building. The door (entrance, back or any other exterior) is a node where other interior openings (of rooms, stairs etc.) verge, and for the intruder it becomes easier to spread out from here. However, buildings have many other ‘softer’ points for easier intrusion, like windows, thin walls, weak roofing, etc.
Door security also relates to integrity of the door against high speed winds, rain storms, birds and insects, etc. Security also relates, to forcing an entry to save lives. A very strong door that is virtually unbreakable or impenetrable can pose equally a major problem in case of a disaster. Similarly a toughened glass door is difficult to break out or in during fire or accident.
There is a tendency to caution the users for the security risks and hazards a door system could have, through signs, signage and other forms of alarm systems. But it is always ‘better to reduce the risks, do away with the hazards through design than warnings’.
The strength of a door system derives from: its location, size, composition, materials of construction, the support framing and the nature of basic hardware and additional safety appendages.
Security perception of a door varies from one situation to another. A door visible from a street, such as set flush with the wall surface is less a security risk than the one set back in a niche. Doors supported on all sides such as the hatch doors are stronger then supported on one or two sides like the sliding doors. Doors opening both ways are stopped by the hardware and are poorly secured such as the pivoted doors. A door of ordinary glass if breakable is a security risk, but being a see-through element in a well-illuminated environment may forestall break-ins. An intruder prejudges the entry but also remains fearful that someone can see from the outside. Malls, stores have glass doors to make the interiors visible and so safe. Fewer doors make a building safer, but adequate emergency exits must be provided.
Door security is now considered in more in holistic terms. A well planned and managed community provides better security then the lonely but strongest door system. Electronic and other surveillance systems can eliminate the need for heavy doors.
Community surveillance systems: Where a community or a building is safe, its sub units (offices, residences, etc.) may not require strong individual security arrangements. Community security system consists of organizing units of a building and sub units within each zone as a domain or bastion with single entry. Several buildings within a community form a precinct, though not bounded by walls but one that can be patrolled circumferentially. Many colonies discourage erection of high and opaque compound walls or hedges, so that individual units remain visible by other members. Yet in case of a complete blackout or during riots some form of security surveillance is necessary.
Integrated security surveillance systems solve many of the individual security issues. It works on observation of oddities, recording it for post analysis, warnings, activating the multiple precautionary measures (cutting of exists, power cuts, sprinklers, etc.) Such security systems are part of both the door and the opening system, or even spread across a building. An integrated security system is not an appended system but rather designed and compounded with the building’s structure and functions as a unified method of building management. The system to be successful requires coordinated working of many different agencies. An individual user cannot hope to install and operate such a system, but must contract out such a service.