Security Gates may be Potential Safety Hazards - April 1, 2008

Public Service Announcement (PDF)

Your Security Gate Might be Hazardous to You

Does your home have a security gate that……

  1. Requires a key to exit the gate?
    - OR -
  2. Has an electrified lock that could trap your family or other occupants inside the building in the event of a power failure?

Recently, during a fire in San Francisco, a family was trapped inside their burning home because an electrical fire cut power to the building. The family had to be rescued from the building by the Fire Department through windows.

If your building has a locked gate that requires a key to exit or, if you have an electrical push-button release for your gate, you should modify the lock so that a simple thumb latch opens the gate whether or not the building has power. (Note: Such a modification requires a building permit and may require you to add security mesh to the gate to reduce the possibility that someone could reach through and unlatch the gate from the outside.)

Besides being unsafe, gates meeting the above description are a violation of building and fire codes. By law, the owners of such buildings may be held responsible for injuries or deaths caused by the installation of these locking devices.

For additional information about residential security gates, contact:

San Francisco Fire Department, Bureau of Fire Prevention
(415) 558-3300

For information about building permits, contact:

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection
(415) 558-6130