Salem County eyes the fire sleeve concept for a tool in school security

- Parents, students and school leaders across the country continue to look for ways to keep children safe.

Officials in Salem County, New Jersey have a simple plan to protect them.

Potential school shootings are on everyone’s mind, including Salem County Fire Instructor Leroy Pierce.

“We know that active shooters generally are looking for target rich environments and they’re looking for the easiest way into those targets,” Pierce said.

Like with many things in society as it relates to school shootings, we’re divided on potential solutions. Put politics and even budget solutions aside, most people agree that even unusual options should be discussed. Sheriff Chuck Miller also thinks unusual options should be discussed.

“I was a little apprehensive, initially, and I really wasn’t understanding the full concept. Once I saw this it truly was a no brainer,” Sheriff Miller said.

Giving teachers guns is controversial, bullet proof glass and electronic doors are largely unaffordable. In Salem County, New Jersey, they’re trying something so simple, so affordable and it honestly works.

Chief Pierce explained what they’re now doing with old fire hoses.

“We decided to take our fire hose that was going to be discarded, fire hoses that previously may have saved a life and put it back into a life-saving mode, using the fire sleeve concept,” Chief Pierce explained.

Leroy Pierce is the Chief Fire Instructor in Salem County and Chuck Miller is the Sheriff. They live in Salem County. Their children either did or do go to the schools, so coming up with ways to save lives is something they take very seriously.

“My children go to Pennsville Schools. I know that the additional sleeve in addition to having the door locked is going to provide my child an increased measure of safety,” Chief Pierce stated.

“Until you’re able to demonstrate this to someone, I think individuals are like ‘Okay, does this really work,’” Sheriff Miller said.

It is as simple as it looks. Cut old fire hoses down and slide them over the door mechanism. 

Upon demonstration, the door does not open nearly enough for anyone to pass through. Sheriff Miller understands this is not a total solution, but it is one more tool.

“We’re a small community and law enforcement from neighboring communities will be responding if, God forbid, we ever have a shooter. We’re looking to buy time so we can get in there and address the threat,” Sheriff Miller explained.

There is minimal cost. The fire hoses would be thrown out. Inmates at the local prison cut them down as part of their service back to the community and Salem County officials are meeting with other counties to see if they are interested. They hope it’s never an issue, but if it is, they believe that if they save one life, it’s worth it, for goodness’ sake.
 

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