Friday, February 9, 2018
When I was in elementary school, I rejoiced in an unexpected day off because vandals had broken into my school and trashed the place. When I was in high school, I got another unplanned day off because the suspects in a shooting had gone to ground in the woods around the railroad tracks behind the school. School administrators had all the school buses turn around, while the kids that had already made it to school had to spend the whole day in lockdown. The absolute crowner was during a gym class in middle school, when our softball game was interrupted by a Toyota Tacoma ramping a six-foot rise, then tearing across the baseball and football fields. It was shortly followed by two police cruisers that managed to push the truck into the ditch surrounding the field before the gym teacher could herd us back into the building.
Most kids have likely had a less exciting school experience, but schools still need fences, especially in areas where students are outdoors and at their most vulnerable. Schools should be safe places, and fences for school playgrounds and perimeters help keep students safe, both from those who may have ended up on school grounds accidentally and from those targeting the school specifically.
When most people think of school security they're thinking of the threats that make the news: kidnappers or students with issues and access to weapons. These are very valid concerns, and a fence isn't a bad step in improving school security for students. However, the best defense against these very real, and nearly unthinkable, concerns is staff awareness and diligence in applying that awareness. There are many more everyday threats to worry about when choosing a fence for an outdoor play area. These threats include:
All of these types of people are threats that sturdy security fencing for a school can deflect, but not all fences are equally capable of deterring these threats.
One of the key things a school fence needs is sufficient height-at least six feet-to stop anyone from simply vaulting it. It also needs to be difficult to climb. Finally, to prevent an experience like the one I had in middle school, a fence should ideally be sturdy enough that a driver thinks twice about trying to drive through it. The most commonly used fencing types each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Of the most common fencing options, steel panel fences come with the most benefits and fewest disadvantages. The one drawback that has occasionally deterred schools is the expense. However, now that panel fences are available which come pre-welded and take very little time to install, fabrication and installation costs are much lower than in the days when fences were put together on-site. A high-quality steel fence will also require very little maintenance over time, which saves on repair costs.
For a steel fence that will last and resist intruders, look for pickets that are over a half inch in width, to prevent bending, and that are held in place by an internal locking mechanism that prevents the fence from being taken apart. In order to stay strong over many years, a steel fence will also need a high-quality coating to prevent rust. Ideally, look for multiple layers of corrosion protection.
One fence that has all these features is the Titan line of steel panel fences from Fortress Fence, available in heights of more than seven feet. These are fully-welded fence panels with pickets that are locked into place with a stainless steel lock rail. To help these fences last, the pre-galvanized coating on the steel is topped with an e-coat for greater rust protection and two layers of powder coating to resist fading from UV light. For more info or to find a dealer or installer, get in touch with us today. Fortress' dedication to quality is their hallmark, and is evident in the quality of their railing and decking products, too.