Hard Security

Perimeter security from barriers and bollards to turnstiles and door hardware


Bollards have been evolving for years. Recently, we have begun to develop sophisticated versions. Presently, bollards with stopping weight ratings are manufactured as stationary, some with locking capability for temporary removal. Hydraulic bollards, which will raise and lower by switch activation, allow for rapid passing and re-securing of vehicular paths. Vehicle traps, which also raise and lower to allow the passage of vehicles, are used in higher security applications.

When the topography and operational requirements for land use allow it, trenches or vehicle traps can be developed outside a perimeter fence to mitigate the possibility of vehicles ramming fence sections to gain access to a facility. Concrete triangle, rectangle and cylindrical shaped blocks at a minimum of 4 feet high used individually — and more effective in combinations of configurations — provide additional mitigating barriers for the adversary vehicle to negotiate in an attempt to breach a perimeter fence. The rectangular, triangular, and cylindrical shapes can provide a pleasing cosmetic barrier, yet prove effective against vehicular penetration attempts.

Not cosmetically pleasing but effective are simple barriers which can be used as delay pieces or prohibitive penetration devices. Old truck or heavy equipment tires buried half in the ground and half out of the ground filled with reinforced concrete make a formidable barrier to delay vehicular access. Flower beds have been used to make deploying old tires more pleasing to the eye.

Common guard rails, guard cables and steel beams in multiple configurations mounted on I beams driven into the ground and surrounded with several feet of deep reinforced concrete to ground level are very effective against vehicle-mounted assaults.

Cabling mounted to fence posts and tied to a “dead man” (massive reinforced concrete blocks buried in the ground to which the ends of the cable is attached) aid considerably in the effectiveness of fence and vehicle gates to delay or stop vehicle penetrations.

Vehicle gates can come in as many architectural cosmetic designs and styles as the security requirements, physical limitations, and staffing dictate. Gates can be swing, slide, raised overhead or simple single swing barriers. I have see vehicle traps, hydraulic bollards, electric bollards as gate supplements too.

I have also seen the gate operation devices on the unsecured side of the gate because of faulty designs by folks not thinking of the application for which the gate is being installed. Remember, keep all the electronics and operational components — power cabling, breaker boxes, everything — on the secure side of the fence and barriers.

Pedestrian Control

Turnstiles are a common barrier for pedestrian traffic. Designs range in height from waist-high, pleasant-looking single-pass units to 7-foot single-passage units with anti-passback shields to prevent two people from using the same credential to gain access. They are usually integrated with another barrier, such as a wall or fence.

Swing gates come in two basic models; single or double gates. Most double gates are designed with the option to open individually or together. Depending on the application, gates can open into the controlled area or to a sally port with a second set of gates. A sally port gives the opportunity to search people and vehicles in a controlled environment away from the operator. It allows for a close inspection of the chassis, passenger/operator compartments and areas where materials are carried prior to granting access into a facility.

Note that the second set of gates must be equal to the perimeter gates to maintain effective perimeter control. Operational controls for gates must always be in a controlled area away from persons operating vehicles or attempting pedestrian access to a facility.

Protection of gate controls is important for swing, sliding, lift, vehicle or pedestrian or any other gate or turnstile. Providing for security-type hinge designs is important to eliminate the removal of the gates’ pins and hinges to gain access.

Walls and Doors