; Automatic Sliding Gates- Defective and Dangerous
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Automatic Sliding Gates- Defective and Dangerous

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									Many homes, apartments and/or homeowner associations use automatic sliding gates
for security reasons. What most people don't realize is that automatic sliding gates are
very, very dangerous to children and adults. Children and adults can be severely
injured or killed if they become entrapped in the gates as they are automatically
opened or closed. The injuries include cuts, broken bones, brain injuries and
amputations. Many older gates do not have sensing devices or reversing mechanisms
to prevent these entrapments.

Some think that these tragedies only occur to children or foolish people. That is not
the case. Many responsible adults have been injured or killed due to defective sliding
gates. Take Chicago Judge Joan Corboy. Judge Corboy was tragically killed by a
sliding gate with a defective Stanley operator. The Stanley gate operator had no safety
devices and/or reversing devices. Judge Corboy was killed in the same way many
folks are with unsafe automatic sliding gates. She tried to reach through the gate in
order to activate the button to open the gate. The automatic gate opened suddenly and
entrapped her on the gate, killing her.

Gate entrapment injuries often occur to children. We have received internal Stanley
documents which indicate that Stanley Works has notice of dozens and dozens of
consumers have become entrapped in Stanley sliding gate operators. Stanley, like the
rest of the sliding gate manufacturers, had safety devices available since the 1960's.
However, it has only been in very recent years that gate operator manufacturers have
informed consumers of gate operator hazards and have placed internal and external
anti-entrapment devices on sliding gate operators.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued safety alerts over defective
automatic sliding gates. From 1990 to 2000, CPSC has estimated that nearly 25,000
people were involved in automatic gate-related injuries, including 9,000 children
under 15 years old. Each year over 2,000 people, including 800 children, are treated in
hospital emergency rooms for injuries to the head, neck, arm, or hand due to
automatic sliding gate defects.

CPSC worked with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to develop tougher safety
standards that require automatic gates to have at least two mechanisms to prevent
entrapment. These UL 325 provisions are similar to the standards in effect for
automatic garage doors. The UL 325 standard, which UL adopted in March 2000,
requires an internal sensing device that will reverse the gate if it encounters an
obstruction when opening or closing; and a secondary external sensing mechanism,
such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will reverse the gate if an obstruction is
detected.

Additional safety measures related to gate installation include:

* Do not use vertical posts gates. Eliminate all gate post gaps over 2.25 inches.
* Make sure gates use a mesh pattern.
* Installation of controls far enough from the gate so users cannot come into contact
with the gate while operating the controls.
* Installation of controls where the user has full view of the gate operation.
* Elimination of pinch points.
* Make sure gate operators have both internal and external anti-entrapment devices
* Posting of warning signs on each side of the gate.

The problem with automatic sliding gate is this: there are still hundreds of thousands
defective and dangerous automatic sliding gates in the United States. These gates that
don't have entrapment safety devices are tragedies waiting to happen. "If your
apartment or condominium complex has an older gate, contact a manager or your
homeowners' association and have it replaced with a safer automatic gate that meets
the new standard. It could save a life," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown.

								
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