A chain-link fence with a barbed wire top is a typical combination facilities use for protection.
A chain-link fence with a barbed wire top is a typical combination facilities use for protection.

By Mitch Laursen, USstoragesearch.com

On the morning of September 17, a man was found impaled by the sharp, curved steel bars that line the top of a self-storage protective fence. The man had allegedly forgotten his security gate code to enter the facility and decided he would try to get in anyway. In an effort to overcome the challenge of not knowing the code, he climbed on top of the fence, slipped, and his leg was impaled by the sharp bars on top of the fence.

Why do self-storage facilities use security gates and fences?

Gates and security fences are two of the most important components of a storage facility; they protect the self-storage units and the belongings inside. Many security gates include an electronic passcode requiring self-storage facility management and unit renters to provide special codes to enter the facility quarters (and get past the gate). Protective fences also do wonders with self storage facility curb appeal.

About Fences

There are many different types of fences. Fences are generally made from chain-link, wrought iron, or wood. Wood is a less ideal type because of it’s capability of being damaged by water or tear, but could be useful to limit visibility from outside sources. Chain-link fencing is stronger than wood fencing and can increase curb appeal from people driving by the facility. Wrought iron is the strongest and most expensive form of fence material; it looks professional and is difficult to overcome.

Much of the difference between steel fencing is dependent on the height of the fence and type of top for the fence; fences can range from 3–8 feet in height. Storage facilities can have fences of varying heights with additional rails/pickets of 3–6 inches in length. The steel fence that impaled the man in the previously mentioned story appeared to be fairly tall with pickets seeming to be more than 12 inches in height and a couple inches thick.

About Gates

The types of gates include:

  • Barrier arms
  • Swing gates
  • Vertical-lift gates
  • Slide or roll gates

The method of entrance to self-storage facilities depends the kind of gate you want protecting your facility. Combining a swing, slide, or vertical-lift gate with an automatic gate opener and access control system provides an effective and secure method of protecting your facility.

As a storage owner or manager there are lessons to be learned from this unfortunate story.  First, routinely inspect all your property including gates and fences.  Make sure that the gates are operating properly along with testing any security features that are in place like sensors to prevent gates from closing on people and/or vehicles.  Annually check-up on any building code changes that you may be subject to and that your equipment and property are up to required standards.  The name of the game here is if an accident should occur make sure it isn’t due to your gross negligence.  Secondly, make sure your tenants understand how gates work and what the hours of operations are.  Many times, gate accidents occur when someone isn’t aware of the facility’s operating hours, get locked inside then try to open the gate or climb out.  Third, make sure that you have a way for tenants to reach someone in case of an emergency (hint, hint, try USstoragesearch.com’s 24/7 self storage call center services!).  Finally, make sure that your insurance policies are up-to-date, cover you against accidents like these and there is sufficient coverage in place to eliminate your personal liability should something like this happen.

A good fence and gate system will go a long way in helping you attract customers.  Taking the time to make sure everything is maintained will go a long way in helping you keep those customers.