While window gates and double-key door locks can be effective at keeping unwanted individuals from entering an apartment or home, their blade is double-edged, as they also have the power to keep people inside when they need to escape. This situation reared its ugly head when two young girls in Brooklyn passed away in a fire when they could not open a window gate lock, according to a report by The New York Times.
“The girls had spent their last moments searching frantically through the box for something that would open the lock and release them from the inferno,” Mayor David Dinkins said, according to the news source.
For this reason, the New York City Council is campaigning a new project that would prevent the unauthorized use of window gates and double-key door locks. If individuals want to use these physical security tools, they need to hire a professional locksmith to install the devices, The New York Times reported. This is because a lot of people set up the locks themselves and do not know how to properly disarm them to escape in an emergency.
Dinkins and his administration said they are working to advance the legislation, while simultaneously informing landlords and tenants of the dangers associated with inappropriately installing the security accessories.
Window gates of any kind need to be attached to the window frame and installed by a professional. Currently the main concern Dinkin and his administration has is the gates that face fire escapes or are secured with a lock and key, as these are already breaching fire safety codes, The New York Times reported.
As for double-key lock cylinders, which can be opened on the inside and outside of doors, Dinkins said these devices need to only lock from the inside, as the opposite will make it difficult for someone to get out of a residence during a fire or other emergency.
“This is a campaign that is designed to save lives,” Dinkins said.
A separate report by the New York City Fire Department said the agency is constantly trying to drive down fire-related deaths by inspecting property and educating the public. The campaign to bar unauthorized installations of window gates and outside locks will likely help reduce fatalities, which is an ongoing concern for any major city.