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Hudson -- An intruder enters a school, office building or government facility, and a lockdown is declared. But how secure is the door, the only barrier between the shooter and his victims?
That inability to quickly and effectively barricade interior doors in a shooter situation led Hudson residents Bill Cushwa and Dave Soulsby to create the National School Control Systems company in 2013 and invent the BEARACADE Door Control System.
The BEARACADE slides under a door and a 1/4 inch stainless steel pin is inserted into the floor. The device secures the door in 8 seconds, and the door can be opened in less by pulling the pin for easy exiting if necessary, a feature the fire code requires.
It will work on doors that swing inward, outward and double doors, Cushwa said.
"Dave and I wanted a lightweight, but strong device someone could deploy very quickly," Cushwa said. "When hostile intruder events are over in minutes, seconds count. We didn't want the delay or chaos of trying to find items in a room to barricade a door. We also needed to work within the confines of building and fire codes."
BEARACADE weights less than 1 pound but can hold back 4,000 pounds of external force, Cushwa said. First responders can see that the door is secured with the reflective striped decal when they sweep the building.
"We wanted a level of confidence, and even though the device is a simple-looking piece, it has a lot of thought going into it," Cushwa said.
National School Control Systems shipped 500 devices June 18 to Mentor Public Schools, which includes 14 schools and serves 8,447 students.
Seton Catholic School in Hudson will add the BEARACADE to its facility this summer, Cushwa said. They have contacts in the United States and Canada through school board conferences.
The $49 BEARACADE is discounted for quantity orders.
Shootings at Virginia Tech University in 2007, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 and dozens more in schools, workplaces and military bases made citizens join together to find a way to protect students.
Hudson had a Keep Hudson Safe Initiative meeting in January 2013 to discuss possible solutions. Safer entrance ways, more police presence and the identification and treatment of mental illness were introduced as possible answers.
The seeds for the invention were planted during quarterly school safety meetings with Hudson City Schools, Seton Catholic School, Western Reserve Academy and Hudson Montessori School, Cushwa said.
"I wanted to create a tool to put in the hands of a teacher," Cushwa said. "The first responders."
Design Molded Plastics in Twinsburg uses high impact injection molded polymers to make the BEARACADE product, Cushwa said.
"We knew we could engineer and manufacture a solution here in Northeast Ohio that would work anywhere," Cushwa said.
The device provides work for Hattie Larlham, a nonprofit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental abilities. Hattie's Assembly employees attach a screw, lanyard and anchor pin to the polymer body's interior side and a reflective sticker to the exterior side.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing