Bollards can protect people as well as property.
What happened in your world yesterday afternoon at 10 minutes before 1 p.m.?
If you’re reading this, probably nothing out of the ordinary: maybe lunch, a customer interaction, or sanitizing your office door handles — again.
Well, at about that time on May 6, 2020, a two-car collision on U.S. Route 25 in Hendersonville, North Carolina, sent one of the vehicles careening into the office of Add A Space Mini Storage.
Inside that office, owner Joey Lawrence Barnwell was going about his day. That crash took his life. He was 58 years old.
Most people would say that’s a sad story and a tragic loss. And they’d be right. But it’s also another maddening example of a problem that happens far too often: vehicle-into-building crashes.
You’ve seen them on the evening news or in your local newspaper — usually with images of a car that’s gone through the front windows of a convenience store, restaurant or other business.
These crashes happen plenty to self storage facilities, too, explained Colorado-based safety expert Rob Reiter.
“We reviewed a representative sample of 51 incidents that occurred at self storage facilities in 28 states,” said Reiter. “We found that 10% of the incidents resulted in one or more fatalities to either someone in the vehicle or someone in the facility. Most significantly, a full 50% of the incidents resulted in one or more injuries.”
Reiter, who cofounded the Storefront Safety Council (full disclosure: I’m the other cofounder, and was on the receiving end of one of these crashes at a 7-Eleven), said self storage facilities are just as susceptible to such crashes as any other business.
"Incidents where a vehicle crashes into a commercial building are very common,” he said. “Our data indicates they occur more than 20,000 times per year, or more than 60 times per day. Vehicles crash into buildings for all sorts of reasons: pedal confusion, medical emergencies, driver impairment, speeding or distracted driving.”
Which is why, he emphasized, businesses — including self storage facilities — really need to protect their employees and customers from what has become a predictable risk: a vehicle incursion into their property.
What can a property owner do?
“Proper safety barriers, such as bollards, are effective, affordable and easily installed,” answered Reiter. “The cost of doing it before a crash is always cheaper than the cost of a crash that was not prevented.”
So, if you are going to protect property because damage from vehicles is foreseeable, then why not take the important step of protecting people for the same reason? After all, employees and customers are your most-perishable assets.
SSA Ambassador Sponsor All From 1 Supply, based in Norwalk, California, is one of several SSA vendors that carries bollard covers as well as other safety equipment. Check out the Vendor Directory on the SSA website for more information on these companies.