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Lessons Learned from the White House Fence Jumper

The White House (and lots of fence)Two very different intruders recently made it past the fence protecting the White House. On July 30, a 6-year-old girl squeezed through the bars of the wrought-iron fence. She apparently ran around the North Lawn for a few minutes before being rounded up by the Secret Service, who quickly returned her to her parents. Just two days later, a homeless man scaled the fence on the same northern side of the White House. The Secret Service quickly arrested him and thoroughly checked his backpack for explosives.

These stories of minor security breaches at the White House contain nuggets of wisdom that may be applied to improve your own fence materials.

Lesson #1: Even pointy fence pickets won’t deter everyone.

Usually, wrought-iron fences like the one at the White House are adequate barriers against would-be intruders. Wrought iron is considered one of the best security fencing materials, Salem fence experts will tell you. Still, there will always be the rare athlete who can avoid being spiked by a pointy security fence. If you must be absolutely sure that no one can scale a certain fence, barbed wire is a more effective deterrent.

Lesson #2: Wrought iron bars should be placed narrowly if you want to keep children in or out.

Wondering what the fence breaches at the White House could possibly have in common with your fence installation? Salem residents who are planning to add fencing around a pool should pay close attention to the story of the 6-year-old fence evader. Private pools must have fencing around them to prevent accidental drowning deaths among children. The laws requiring pool fencing are called attractive nuisance laws; they prevent children from being attracted to what may ultimately hurt them. To prevent children from squeezing through your pool fencing, place the pickets closer together.

Lesson #3: Add internal security systems to complement your fence materials.

Salem and Portland residents with fences often feel safer and more protected than those without fences. However, the fence breaches at the White House showcase the importance of having more than one security system for your home. Although two people beat impossible odds to make it through the White House’s wrought-iron fence, they didn’t get very far before the Secret Service escorted them back out. Likewise, it’s smart to install a security system as a second security measure following your fence installation.

[ photo by: Jonathan Smiley ]

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