Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Interior Security Gate

Hello Fernando, I remember reading something you wrote about a steel
gate that secures part of your home as a safety area, (as you sleep
behind it in a bedroom for example) but I cannot find the entry. I
have a bottle neck in my home between the first and second floor, and
would like to make a strong steel gate (that locks) and install it at
the top of the staircase. I think you had mentioned that it was common
in Argentina. I do welding and carpentry, so I am very aware of
weakness in structure. Also, I am aware of the fire danger when you
have a locked gate in your home, I have other escape options. I would
like to sleep sounder, knowing that there is a gate between my family
and the bad guys when I sleep. I live in a more rural area, and this
gate would be just a part of my overall security strategy. I also like
the fact that when I am at work and my family is home, that even
though I am 30 minutes from home, my wife can scurry my kids to a safe
(safer) area, buying time and increasing the odds for survival. What
was the name of that type of gate? Thanks for helping us with all of
your experiences. You’re also very entertaining…

Hi Wess,
Yes, I’ve mentioned that system before, but it´s actually common in South Africa where crime is even worse, not that common around here in Argentina.
This is an internal gate sometimes called “anti-rape cage”, it goes in the corridor that goes to the bedroom. The idea here is that it protects the family from the home invaders that want more than to just steal a few things (that explains the name) or at the very least, it buys you some time.
In a well designed home, this gate provides an important barrier, especially if the home invaders aren’t aware of it until they go in. Of course, it achieves nothing if you don’t keep in mind to lock it every night. Additional architectural security designs could be an “L” shaped corridor so family members could go from one room to another without getting shot through the gate, passways in the dressers connecting one room to another or a secret exit. The escape hatch maybe leading to a basement safe room or shelter, or the garage where the family could get into a vehicle and escape. In the old days of the desert colonization of the Argentine Pampa when “malones” (groups of Indians ) attacked, important houses had escape underground tunnels that went for 100 yards so that the family could escape when sieged.
Lattice Gate by Anvil Shutters Company
About your concern regarding fire, its got lots to do with how much of a fire hazard the house is to begin with. When you have brick and mortar homes as we have here, it´s not that much of a risk, so this would be an important consideration when building a house. When that’s not the case you still have alternatives to secure windows yet be able to escape. Some firms make removable burglar bars, and there’s also lattice gates that are secure but can be opened when needed.

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Anonymous said...

I was about to mention this on another thread(the rural home invasion), but it seems to fit here just as well. I live in Arkansas, right in the middle of tornado country. When we built our home we designed a special safe room made out of cinder blocks, but reinforced with rebar and concrete. It is designed to withstand an EF-4 tornado. We also use it for a panic room. My gun safe is in it, I have a 3-day food and water supply, and it has an outside hidden door for escape purposes.

I live in a rural area on a 65-acre farm not too far from a small town of 3,000 people. Having this safe room is the way to go, at least in my opinion. The room is between the three bedrooms and is accessed from a hallway. A steel door separates the room from the hall, and it is bullet resistent. The room cost me less than $10,000.00 and is worth every penny.

K said...

An obvious problem with the bars shown in the picture is that the locks are located in the middle of the bars. Keys could be left in them so as to facilitate a quick exit (such as would be needed in a fire), but doing so could allow an intruder to reach from the outside and open the bars. Putting the key or keys in a location away from the window would lead to an increase in the amount of time to exit in an emergency.

It would be better to have the locks on the side of the window, or even better, more than a meter away from the window and inside the room. Creating the even better solution would be much more expensive, I think.

Also having dummy locks in the middle of the bars could be worthwhile if the cost is not prohibitive. Intruders would likely lose precisious time trying to open them.

Anonymous said...

another option is use a security film on the glass. Good commercial grade film can take many repeated hits from a baseball bat without breaking through. Might be less expensive than bars too.