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The holidays are fast approaching and, if you have kids, your life’s soundtrack for the next couple of weeks will be the sound of cartoons being played at full volume intermingled with woops of sheer, unadulterated joy at whatever hilarious hijinks is currently being played out on the TV screen. There might also be the occasional howl of pain as you step on a toy, but that’s just par for the course.
Yes, the holiday season is a joyful time, and you certainly wouldn’t want it marred by an accident that could have been avoided, especially now that the pitter patter of little feet fills the house…
…which is why we’ve put together this list of crucial gate safety tips to help you keep kids, pets and vehicles out of harm’s way.

Safety beams
CENTURION Photon infrared safety beams with a wireless transmitter
When it comes to automated gate safety, the installation of gate safety beams is a non-negotiable. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and could potentially save you or a loved one from serious injury. CENTURION even manufactures wireless beams which greatly simplify installation and reduce installation costs.

 

Safety beams consist of two modules – a receiver and a transmitter – that “talk” to each other via a modulated infrared beam. As long as the receiver can “see” the beam, it knows that the gate’s area of travel is clear and it can give the all-clear to the gate motor that it is safe to move. But when the beam is broken – for example by someone standing in the path of the gate – there’s a break in the circuit and the gate won’t move. The beam acts as sort of a crossing guard, telling the gate when it is safe to move, and when it needs to remain stationary.

Check your gate’s collision sensitivity and adjust it if necessary
If chick flicks have taught us anything, it’s that being sensitive is a good thing, and nowhere is this truer than in the case of gate automation. While many users are tempted to set their motor’s sensitivity to minimum to compensate for some deviation in the rack or rail (for example a missing tooth or poor welding), this is merely treating the symptom and not the cause and may, in fact, make the installation more dangerous.

Courtesy lights
Copyright: squirrel77 / 123RF Stock Photo
This is especially important if you have a pedestrian gate setup that necessitates the person putting his or her hand through the gate in order to activate a key-switch. The courtesy light interfaces directly with the gate motor and will provide a warning flash sequence (called a pre-delay) prior to moving the gate, giving the user enough time to remove their hand and move clear of the gate.

 


Slow things down
One of the great things about CENTURION gate motors is that the opening and closing speeds can be individually adjusted according to your personal requirements and preferences, so you can have the gate opening super-fast but with a more tempered closing. This is generally preferably where kids are involved, but do take note that this may compromise the security of the installation. We recommend enabling PIRAC mode, so that the gate closes immediately once the safety beams have been cleared.

Give your gate the edge
A P34 passive sensitive edge

No, we’re not talking about that guy from U2, we’re talking about the foam buffer that can be bolted to the leading edge of your gate in order to make it more sensitive to collisions. The sensitive edge is a passive component, so no additional wiring is necessary.


Dispose of packaging material properly
If you happen to find a gate motor in your stocking this festive season, avoid leaving packing materials such as plastic and polystyrene lying around where children will be tempted to ingest it.

Secure all easily-accessed gate motor controls
Fact: kids are inherently inquisitive and will want to play with anything that looks remotely stimulating, and that includes remote controls. Be careful not to let your key fob out of your site when little ones are around and, if you have a keypad or other access device at the actual gate, be sure to mount it high enough so that kids can’t reach it and inadvertently activate the gate.