How to Barricade a Door

How to Barricade a Door Effectively During a Shooting or Active Threat Incident

You may find yourself wondering how to barricade a door effectively to protect your life during a shooting or other type of threat. But, before that thought enters your mind, you must have considered possible instances that would make this process necessary.

With the knowledge that threatening incidents occur in public and private places throughout the country, the conversation of protecting oneself becomes more prominent each day. People want to know what they can do if faced with a violent incident.


“Learning how to barricade a door effectively can be one of the many options that can save your life, and possibly others.” ~Steve S Smith


How to Barricade a Door Effectively During a Shooting: Your 4 Life-Saving Action Steps


When Do I Need to Barricade a Door?

During a threatening situation, our instructors emphasize the “not-one-size-fits-all” approach to response.


When teaching response options to schools, businesses, or places of worship, understanding the use of multiple options helps people feel confident they can do something.


#1: Evacuate – Evade – Isolate – Secure – Defend

These actions encourage participants to make a quick-action choice when faced with a threat.

Sometimes after teaching this, a teacher may ask what they should do when they are in the cafeteria. The challenge is then to utilize one of these actions quickly to make a decision based on the knowledge of the threat provided to them.

Knowing when to barricade a door essentially comes from

  • choosing to ISOLATE yourself in an area and then
  • having the ability to SECURE a door.


#2: Learning “In-Opening” and “Out-Opening” Doors

Do you know how to identify an in-opening and out-opening door when it is closed?

  1. Find the closest door to you now, and view it from the exterior position.
  2. Look for the hinges.
  3. If you cannot see the hinges, then you have identified an in-opening door. If you can see the hinges, then you have identified an out-opening door.

You may wonder what this has to do with how to barricade a door:

In critical incidents, such as an active shooter, every second counts.

One type of door may not require as much work and can allow for more time to do other things like calling 9-1-1 or assisting with dependents in the room.


#3: In-Opening Doors

  1. If a perpetrator is heading your way, LOCK THE DOOR.
  2. Once locked, (or if unable to lock), the next thing to do is CREATE A BARRICADE. The best way to barricade an in-opening door is to place a heavy piece of furniture or other such items that will act as a doorstop or buffer against opening that door.

In our scenario-based exercises, we have witnessed participants assemble a row of heavy office desks end-to-end, starting from the door to the adjacent wall. Such positioning of furniture acted as a wedge that could prevent someone from the outside pushing in.


#4: Out-Opening Doors

In the event a threat breaches a locked out-opening door, you will want to create a high-wall barricade. This should be objects that you have stacked high past the level of an adult. Creating a wall-like barricade will help in the following ways:

  1. Allow time to pass as the threat tries to knock down the barricade.
  2. The threat will most likely lower their weapon as they attempt to dismantle the barricade. This may be the opportune time to DEFEND yourself.


Other Door Barricading Options

In today’s market, a number of companies offer door barricading mechanisms and ballistic doors for the workplace. Whether your school, business, or place of worship decides to invest in these products or not, it is always a good idea to look at the layout of your work space and plan where and how to strategically place your furniture in the event SECURING yourself becomes a necessity.

Bill Cushwa, founder of Bearacade and inventor of multiple door barricading mechanisms, sees the proven benefit of his safety product. Cushwa states:

“In 2017, my invention was used in 8 actual hostile intruder incidents, including 3 students bringing guns to school, 2 belligerent parental custody disputes, 2 domestic violence issues that spilled over into the workplace, and one shopping mall incident where the customers and employees of a Disney Store were able to quickly move to the back of the store and deploy our custom B2-A that is now in every Disney Store in North America.  We were also honored to be chosen by two US Air Force bases in Texas when they added a combination of our Bearacade and B2 units throughout the bases.”

Bearacade’s products highlight a way to build layers of resistance against a threat.


Marcus Craig, CEO of Blue Refuge, discusses the impact a ballistic door can have on shielding our employees and students:

“When discussing ‘peace-of-mind’ in schools today, we cannot ignore the concept of ‘safe havens’. A true safe haven is an impenetrable area that cannot be breached, even with gunfire. For classrooms, our ballistic shielding materials and doors offer true refuge and safe havens during active threat events. Teachers and students, knowing they are protected and out of harm’s way, gain that feeling of safety and security a real safe haven provides.”

Blue Refuge’s product is one way workplaces and schools can build upon their physical security plan.


Wrapping Up How to Barricade a Door Effectively During a Shooting

Barricades act as time savers and an additional component to DEFEND oneself. More time equates to a higher chance of survival.

Note that it is not easy to breech a locked door. Even when using a firearm to try to “shoot open” a locked door, a variety of factors can inhibit the door from opening. Barricading a door is one way to either:

  1. Discourage the perpetrator from spending too much time trying to enter the room.
  2. Allow more time for first responders to arrive.


If you need more ideas of how to make time on your side for your workplaceschool or place of worship, please contact our office at 561-419-8869. Or >>schedule a no-obligation appointment<< to learn more about the model that best meets your needs.

Prepare TODAY for a safer tomorrow!