Could your gate lock out first responders?


You can help ensure that first responders can get to your property without limitations by installing access devices.


In an emergency, first responders need immediate access to the affected property. While perimeter walls, gates and fences do a great job of maintaining privacy, these physical barriers could delay help from police, paramedics or fire departments.

Any delay in response could be the difference in saving your property…or even in saving a life.

Did you know the average time to disable a motorized entry gate is 7-10 minutes? Emergency personnel cannot lose time looking for keys, codes or cranks or by attempting to force the gate open with bolt cutters, “jaws of life” or other mechanical devices. They also cannot wait for maintenance personnel to arrive to activate gate release mechanisms that are typically on the inside of the gate.

In catastrophe-prone areas of the country, assistance may come only on a triage or accessibility basis. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes or tornadoes, you can help ensure that first responders can get to you and your property without limitations by installing access devices designed for emergency responders.



Before adding new technology to your property, ask your local fire department about the preferred device in your jurisdiction. Commonly used access devices include:

Knox®: The most often preferred device is a Knox key switch. This override device features a corresponding key that takes the gate from automatic to manual mode allowing entry to first responders. Knox also makes a security box where an override key can be stored.

SOS® Siren-Operated Sensor: Its YDT version indicates yelp, decibel and time. Programmed to respond to emergency vehicle sirens’ yelp sound, the device will open a gate in 2.5 seconds. If the responder is not using the yelp, yet the decibel level remains high for an additional 2 seconds, the YDT will trigger the gate to open. This version responds to the wail or any consistent sound producing 4.5 seconds of high decibel. It is proximity adjustable and has switchable safety options built into the circuit board.

Click2Enter®: Click2Enter taps the state-of-the-art electronics now designed into modern scanner radio technology to give public safety personnel (law enforcement, fire, ambulance/rescue or any authorized user) a quick, safe, reliable and stealthy means to activate gates and security control mechanisms using their portable or mobile radios. The radio transmitter, either mobile or portable, serves as the key to your property.

Fire Strobe 2000: Created by DF Supply, Inc., this emergency-vehicle strobe detector provides rapid access to any gated community serviced by emergency equipment using 3M®’s Opticom™ strobe system. The signal is received optically by line of sight from 150 to 500 feet depending on the ambient light and intensity of the strobe emitter. Acquisition time for the light source is about half a second. The Fire Strobe 2000 is common for security/electric gate access or can be used for firehouse garage doors and other related access needed by emergency vehicles.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local, independent insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service.

The selection of a particular product or service provider is the independent choice of the policyholder. Products and service providers are not affiliated with The Cincinnati Insurance Companies. Cincinnati and its employees make no warranties and assume no liability for services, products or loss control measures provided by service providers.

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