Grenfell type tragedy - could faulty gate be to blame in the future?

Grenfell type tragedy - could faulty gate be to blame in the future?

Gate Safe was horrified to read that fire fighters were recently hindered from attending an emergency because of a faulty automatic gate system (The Mirror, 23rd June 2017). 

Just days after the horrific Grenfell Tower tragedy, fire crews attending a call out to a tower block in Manchester were forced to access the housing block by scrambling over a fence because the fire alarm panel had not opened the security gates – effectively locking them out. This was not the first time the fire brigade had experienced the problem either – there have been two further occasions when access was denied in May, one time resulting in rescue crews using ladders to get over the gate and another, forcing them to gain access via a pedestrian entrance gate that been left ajar. Fortunately, all three call-outs proved to be false alarms but what if a fire had been found? The consequences do not bear thinking about.

Gate Safe has always advocated that where an automated gate is in situ to restrict vehicular access, in addition, a separate pedestrian gate should be provided, this is especially important in a high occupancy dwelling (such as a tower block).

Regardless of the above, any gate that is capable of inhibiting access in the case of an emergency should be directly connected to the fire alarm so that it automatically opens in the event of an incident. Where the gate is key to the safety of residents there should be an uninterruptible power supply fitted (UPS) to avoid any power outages impacting the gate’s ability to open and close. Best practice also dictates that the mandatory Fireman’s switch is also installed prominently to allow entry to the emergency teams at all times. Finally, it is absolutely vital to ensure a regular maintenance programme is in place for any automated gate, but this is even more critical when it relates to a site where daily usage is high due to the sizeable number of occupants. 

After reviewing the press coverage of the incident in Manchester, Gate Safe understands that none of these basic requirements were met.

The exterior cladding which featured at Grenfell Towers has been identified as a major factor contributing to the devastating blaze and subsequent substantial loss of life. This has resulted in a review of other tower blocks in the UK featuring the same or similar cladding. To date, around 60 have been tested for fire resistance and ALL have failed. Gate Safe urges a similar audit of any automatic gates at such properties, which may also pose a similar threat to resident safety.

Back to Main Page

Gate Safe
Beverlea, Clavertye,
Elham, Canterbury
Kent. CT4 6YE

Stacks Image p272_n18

Working together with Gate Safe

Gate Safe is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 1149261).

Gate Safe and the Gate Safe logo are registered trade marks of GSSC Ltd.

The guidance and recommendations on this website represent our interpretation of advice based on information from HSE, British Standards and relevant UK legislation. It is not a definitive statement and should be used in conjunction with your own risk assessment of the specific site prior to undertaking any works. GSSC Ltd take no responsibility for any works carried out by the Gate Safe Aware Installers or for any installations carried out using the information and advice given on this website. All content, trade marks, downloads and images are copyright Gate Safe GSSC Ltd

Website by Kikk |