Fire Crews Pushing for New System for Easier Access

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Harrisonburg fire crews want to make sure they can get to fires in gated communities.

At Tuesday night's city council meeting, they'll be presenting an ordinance with a solution.

The fire department currently has the authority to bypass gates anyway they can.

The ordinance would give the fire department the authority to require a gate activation system in places that are being built.

The Commons apartment complex is the only complex in the city to use the fire department's electronic system.

Chief Larry Shifflett said they can get through other gates with minimal damage.

The electronic system has the gates open when the fire crews arrive. Many systems use card access, but the chief says carrying around a bunch of different access cards isn't efficient.

"We will get in, it's not a question of whether or not we will get in. It might cost us a little time to get in but we will get in, but this type of system will allow us to get in without causing any damage, and that's what we're looking for," said Shifflett.

While the current fire prevention code allows for the department to get through gates any way they can, Shifflett said the ordinance would be a more permanent solution.

Plus some gate systems can cost as much as $12,000, so it would cut down on any potential damage in an emergency. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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