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You Don’t Want Your Driveway Gate to Bar Emergency Access

March 24, 2011

Let’s talk about gates for a minute.  All of the work you’ve done to ensure your address is posted and easy to find, combined with your accessible driveway can be blocked by a security gate.  The ultimate goal is for you to have the security you need and still allow us to come to your aid when you need us.  You can have the best of both worlds, it just takes a little planning.

If you call 911, we have to respond.  Consequently, our guys will get through just about any gate.  They’ve not been stopped cold by any gates yet.  We stock their trucks with a broad array of incredibly useful tools for forcing entry.  The question will be whether you can use the gate again after they’ve taken a can opener to it.

There are some things we want you to consider before installing a gate so you get the security and the emergency access you need.

First of all, ensure the gate you purchase is wide enough.  When the gate is opened, it should provide a full 12-foot clear width.  Many gates advertised as 12-foot gates don’t provide the full 12-foot width when opened.

Secondly, consider how you’re going to lock your gate.  If you use a chain and padlock, we can use bolt cutters on the chain.  You can then re-secure your gate pretty quickly after we’ve left.

If you’re using something more elaborate, you may want to install a key box or key switch.  We have one key system reserved for us by the Knox Corporation.  No one else gets to use that master key or locking mechanism without our knowledge.  That way we know that only our officers have the keys.  Our first responding trucks carry the master key that will allow us to get your gate open quickly and easily.  When we leave, we close the gate again and you’re back in business.

For strictly mechanical systems a key box can hold the key that will open your gate.  Our first arriving units get the key from the key box and open the gate for their access leaving it open for following units.  For electrically controlled gates, a key switch is even quicker.  It opens the gate directly from our master key and keeps it open for following emergency units.

Remember, no one else gets our master key.  That master key is strictly a Fire District 9 tool for emergency use only.  We perform annual inventories of our master keys to ensure we have them all accounted for.  In fact, you can’t even purchase a key switch or key box without our signature authorizing the purchase.  That way we know where every purchase is being installed.

Existing gate assemblies can be retrofitted with a key box or key switch for rapid emergency access.  If you’re interested, stop by our office (3801 E. Farwell Road) and talk with our Fire Prevention Division staff about gate options.  We can show you examples of key boxes and key switches and can get the order information lined up for you.

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From → Preparedness

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