Safety and Risk Avoidance
In today's litigious society, avoiding damage to people and property is even more important than ever. The following is a checklist of actions that may reduce the risk of injury, vehicle damage, and legal action resulting from your gate system.
- Warning signs: Signs should warn that gates are dangerous and that pedestrians should not use gates designed for vehicles. Once installed, you may want to take a dated picture to document that the signs were installed.
- Pedestrian Entrances: Separate pedestrian entrances should be provided so that pedestrians don't have to walk though the vehicular gates.
- Photo-eyes: Photo-eyes for swing / slide gate operators detect the presence of an obstruction between the posts, and prevents the gate from closing. If the gate is in the process of closing, the gates will reverse direction and open until the photo-eye beam is clear. In our opinion, photoeyes are one of the most reliable and cost effective ways to prevent damage to vehicles. (Another option is a traffic loop installed under the path of the gate - however, these loops don't "see" pedestrians and have to be ignored by the gate operator when the gate is closing because the moving gate looks like a vehicle.)
- Emergency siren detectors: Siren detectors allow fire, police and EMS to gain entry into the neighborhood using their siren in the yelp mode. E recommend you also contact your emergency responders and verify they have a code to use as a back-up.
- Entrapment Reversal: Newer gate operators can detect an obstruction to gate or drive arm travel and reverse direction. If the obstruction remains they will shut down and sound an alarm.
- Battery power back-up: During a power outage units equipped with battery back-up will open to allow entry and/or exit to the property. Units without battery back-up should have an alternative and safe way for the gates to be opened in the event of extended power loss. Should a fire/police/EMS emergency arise during a power outage, and the gates are inaccessible, response time could be negatively affected. It is conceivable the property could be held liable for any damages resulting from this additional delay.
- Regular maintenance and testing: Regular maintenance and testing is important for several reasons. First, the safety systems mentioned above need to regularly tested to be sure they are operating properly. Second, proper lubrication and maintenance of the access system will improve reliability, extend component life, and save money in the long run. Lastly, a regular thorough inspection of the gate hinges and welds can identify a small problem before it becomes a big problem; for example, a weak hinge or cracked weld is much more likely to fail during a stress event (such as the gates bumping into vehicle or a child "riding" the gate ) and the damage to vehicle or child could far surpass the damage to the gate. Be sure that whoever performs your maintenance will provide a written report showing they inspected the welds / hinges and tested the above systems, in addition to performing the customary lubrication and operator inspections.