Make Access Control by Emergency Response Teams Part of Your Emergency Response Plan
An Emergency Response Plan is a plan created to address an emergency caused by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, storm, or fire. More frequently, emergency response plans also incorporate live shooters in schools and the workplace, terrorism, and home invasions. Evacuation routes and safe zones should be identified clearly and what-if scenarios considered. Emergency response plans address where to go for safety, supplies that you may need to survive and be comfortable, and who to contact for help. Emergency response plans should be developed early at home, school, and work, shared with family and peers, and reviewed/ updated frequently.
As a fence, gate, and access control distributors and contractors, we’ve helped design, build, ship, and install thousands of residential, commercial, and industrial perimeter fences, automated driveway gate packages, and secured gates for over 40 years. We’ve learned a thing, or two in our experiences working with professional architects, engineers, military and government personnel, school employees, manufacturers, and average homeowners.
While our emphasis has usually been placed on security:
Homeowners want to keep people out, but dogs and animals in.
Schools want to allow students and parents freedom, but maintain safety.
Department of Corrections wants to keep keep prisoners in, but allow visitors and deliveries.
Business owners want to protect their employees and goods, but be open to customers.
U.S. Embassies and airports want security, but also want to be welcoming.
We also need to address a third party: Emergency Response Teams
Make sure Access is considered when you need it most by Emergency Response Teams such as fire departments, EMTs, ambulances, and law enforcement. Most are trained and proficient in doing whatever necessary to access those in need, however seconds count in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Response Plans should incorporate advice from several parties – Don’t just take our word for it! Contact your local authorities who have likely encountered such emergencies. They have also likely encountered gated entrances, mechanical locks on doors, and maglocks on businesses and pedestrian gates. Local law enforcement, fire departments (municipal or multiple townships), and local zoning and building departments. Emergency Response Teams are trained with tools such as Jaws of Life and other specialty tools, however every second can count in the event of an emergency.
Some of our Access Control Accessories are specifically designed for door and gate access by Emergency Response Teams. Consult local agencies for preference. Some ordinances even exist requiring such access control devices for doors and gates for safety.
Knox Box Access Control Lock Box – ‘Leave them a key’ type devices are metal housed lock boxes that house a physical key, or activate an electric switch immediately open opening. Some municipalities, townships, and local fire departments prefer a externally mounted, visible, easily accessible lock boxes to access gates and doors in the event of an emergency. Emergency departments carry a Knox lock key specific to the area they serve for universal access. Lock boxes can come equipped with an electric switch which triggers a gate to open, or lock to unlock immediately open opening. Some lock boxes simple provide a secure space to store an access control device such as a simple manual key override to your system.
Radio Controlled Emergency Response Access Controller – Some municipalities and jurisdictions prefer access to automated gates and locks using their radio controlled equipment. Emergency teams can quickly gain access to gated communities, etc.. with radio equipment installed in vehicles. Local fire departments may advise frequency and programming instructions.
Siren or Strobe Activated Emergency Response Access Controllers – Open gated communities, residences, and businesses using sensors which detect sirens or strobe lights found on emergency response vehicles immediately upon arrival. Externally mounted devices are finely tuned to activate gate operators to open in the event of an emergency.
Other Access Control Devices – Consider also radio transmitters, unique codes to keypads, manual keys, cards for card readers, and remote access using telephone intercoms as possible ideas for allowing access to secured gates and doors.
Mechanical Free Egress Devices – Secured door or gate, great! How do people leave in case of an emergency? Panic Bar Commercial Door Hardware and Exit Control Locks (with and without alarms) have long been installed, even required by some building codes for public buildings. Panic bar exit devices are now available and required by some building codes for pedestrian gates. We have specially designed Panic Bar Exit Gate Kits for chain link gates, ornamental steel and aluminum swing gates, and even a Prehung Chain Link Access Gate and PreFabricated Complete Panic Bar Kit available with controlled access/ free egress available. Even a simple Panic Latch for your vinyl gate, Locinox pushbar, or Locinox Free Exit Lock can save time in the case of an emergency.
It’s never too late, until the disaster has occurred. Consult local authorities, security professionals, and alarm companies for advice before making your own decision on what’s right for your application. Lock your doors, secure your properties, but don’t forget to plan an escape route and entrance for emergency response teams. Be safe and protect those around you!