Gated communities are great. They give you and your family a heightened sense of security because only residents can gain entry. They’re proving to be more popular in America with each passing year. Research from the 2000’s estimates 8 million living in gated communities. The figure since has risen drastically. Take California for example. Nowadays about 40% of all construction there is for gated communities. 

So, it makes sense when people worry about emergency vehicle access. If the gates are only accessible to those who live there, how can emergency services gain access? It’s one of the common questions asked when people are enquiring about Nimbio. What happens if there’s a fire, the need for police or a medical emergency? 

There have emerged certain myths about emergency gate codes…just like there were with universal gate codes. Here we’ll look at emergency gate codes and how emergency services actually gain access to gated communities.

Do Emergency Gate Codes Exist?

The burning question. Is there an emergency gate code that emergency services can put into a gate to gain access? No, not really. There aren’t generic codes that just work on every gate. For a start, modern gates tend to use better security measures such as cellular access technology and not gate codes. 

The myth comes from the fact that some HOA’s (homeowners associations) that operate in gate code operated gated communities, will share there specific gate code with local emergency services. In fact, in some states, this is a requirement. There is usually someone nominated as part of the HOA who looks after gate codes and who will be responsible for sharing it.

So, there aren’t generic emergency gate codes that work on every gate. Think about it! Those codes could easily be shared far and wide causing a security risk and raising crime in the area. Emergency gate codes don’t exist.

But…how do emergency services gain access to gated communities? There are ways. Here are some of the more popular ones.

How Do Emergency Services Gain Access To Gated Communities

In the USA there are at least 600,000 calls made to the emergency services each and every day. By that logic, there are obviously a lot of calls made to and from gated communities. These can include large gated communities, smaller ones, apartments, and to single residences that are themselves gated. So, if there aren’t generic emergency gate codes, how do they get in:

Granted Access By The Caller

This is the most widely used, and probably the most obvious. If you call 911 for any reason and you live behind a gate, you’re going to tell them how to get in. This means opening the gate for them using the Nimbio app, or if you don’t use cellular access technology, buzzing them through or giving them the code over the phone. In most cases, emergency services are granted passage by those in the community.

Automatic Vehicle Identifier

Automatic vehicle identifiers, or AVI, can be used to automatically open the gate for recognised vehicles. In these situations, they can be set up to recognize and allow emergency vehicles into the gated community. When an emergency vehicle turns up at the gate, they’ll automatically open. It’s a similar function that’s used with traffic lights. Sometimes HOA’s will install these on their electric gate access points. 

They’re useful because sometimes emergency services will need access to a gated community without being granted access. For example, if someone called from outside the gated community and that particular person can’t give emergency services access. Or, if law enforcement needs access then they can. AVI’s are usually safe as they won’t grant access to just anyone.

The Knox Box

These are more prominent in and around apartment blocks rather than gated communities, but some communities do use them. It’s essentially a box affixed security to the outside of the wall, and inside is the key that grants access to the community. They’re commonly used by firefighters. The box itself is usually pretty secure. You’ve probably seen them outside assisted living facilities or larger apartments.

Security Controlled

Sometimes, the HOA will pay for actual manned gates. These are incredibly expensive and only seen in some really high end and exclusive gated communities. Even so, they’re being phased out by modern access control systems like Nimbio’s cellular access control system. If a gate is manned, the emergency services are passed through by security. If the gate is only manned at certain times, then there will be a mixture of emergency service entry methods used.

Forcible Entry

Sometimes, entry has to be forced. Gates are good deterrents and take some force to push through, but in emergencies if there isn’t any obvious access some gates gate me forced open. Police vehicles usually have bulldog bars that could force a gate and ambulances and fire trucks are heavy enough too. This is hardly ever done, especially on modern cellular controlled gates. But it does happen. Depending on the reason for forcible entry, reimbursements can be made to fix or replace the electric gate. If this ever happens, you know you probably need to upgrade you electric gate access system to something modern like cellular gate entry. 

The Problem With Gate Codes

As we spoke about earlier, if a gated community is accessed with an entry code, these codes are often shared with emergency services. However, they often run out of date as the codes are changed or updated. In these cases, they become useless and cause a security concern.

Gate codes really are dated. Cellular access control is the way forward. It makes it so easy to grant access to emergency services, even if you’re not in the gated community at the time. With Nimbio, you just need to use the app on your phone. Simple. 

If you’ve enjoyed are article about emergency gate codes, you might like some of these too:

Package Room Access control

Applications for Wireless Entry Systems

Gate Phone Entry Systems: Smartphone Living

Our blog is full of helpful articles around gated communities and electric gate access systems. If you want to chat with us about Nimbio installation, please get in touch. If you wanted to read about it a little more, our testimonial, FAQs and Installation page might be of interest to you. 

Open your gate or building with your phone