Fully deployed active barriers found at Fort Jackson, S.C., access control points are able to withstand large vehicles attempting to access the installation without authorization. Each barrier has a series of lights and signs warning drivers they are approaching an active barrier and when they are being activated. (Photo curtesy of Fort Jackson Physical Security Office) 

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

All who enter Fort Jackson have seen the construction efforts near access control gates as new active and passive barriers are installed. The additional barriers means stronger physical security for the installation and all who work and live on post.

“It’s a barrier going (into the ground) called an active barrier,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Taylor, Fort Jackson’s Physical Security noncommissioned officer in charge. “The silver rails are the passive barriers and will always be up. Once installed, in the event someone wants to run the gate, we can put those up to protect the installation.”

Once construction is complete, the active barriers can be raised within seconds. For drivers thinking about outrunning one of these barriers, don’t.

“They are very effective,” said Capt. Dale Landry, Directorate of Emergency Services operations officer. “It’s never wise to try and outrun one of these barriers as it’s rising. Your vehicle won’t stop them.”

A recently graduated Soldier’s Family found out the hard way. After entering the gate, the barrier system was activated as another vehicle attempted to enter the installation without authorization. The Soldier’s Family continued to cross over the barrier despite warning lights that the barrier was activated. The incident resulted in the rear end of the car being torn apart.

“What the public needs to understand,” Taylor said. “Once that light turns red and the barrier starts to move, there is nothing that will stop that barrier. Those barriers are rated at 15,000 pounds at 30 miles per hour.”

Taylor explained there are a series of lights and signs that lets drivers know when they are approaching an active barrier and when they are activated.

“There are a series of yellow flashing lights with a sign that says active barrier ahead,” Taylor said. “Right next to and above the barrier there is a traffic light and will go from green to amber to red. Red means the barrier is activated.”

Taylor said if a driver is stopped over a barrier, to immediately move their vehicles. He also recommended that drivers do not stop within the painted lines before a barrier in the event of activation.

“When those barriers are up, it’s not to inconvenience the public,” Landry said. “Please be patient because there is some situation going on we are trying to resolve as quickly as we can.”