Do Power Outages Mean Unlocked Doors?

Do Power Outages Mean Unlocked Doors?

By Gina Hough / Published May 2020

Photo by Kawinchan

Do you need emergency back-up power to secure perimeter doors in the event of a sustained power loss? If so, is it sufficient to last several weeks if a hurricane hits? Most likely not, but these are some questions that property managers and community association managers need to ask themselves. Hurricane season is coming, and that means more storms and more power outages, which could mean trouble for property managers who may have maglocks securing their perimeter doors. When there is a loss of power to the building, unless the circuits that control the doors are connected to a generator or alternate power source, the maglocks that are securing the doors are “de-energized.” Without power, the doors will unlock and will remain unlocked until power is restored to the building. This issue is particularly concerning for perimeter doors that may have maglocks, since the space will then be left unsecure.

Photo courtesy of GNM Hough

     There are some things that property managers can do to minimize the issues caused by power outages. They can replace maglocks with devices that don’t require power to stay secure, such as electric strikes and electrified locksets. This would allow the doors to remain locked in the event of power loss. Key access would be required to unlock the door until power is restored. Another practice that managers can do to help minimize disruption is to have an annual maintenance schedule in place to visually and electronically test the system. Most manufacturers recommend proper inspections and maintenance tasks be performed to ensure the equipment is operating efficiently, and it’s also a good time to look at the batteries in the system and determine if replacement is necessary and/or to install emergency back-up batteries to keep the system operating on a limited basis during the outages. Most security providers can offer routine maintenance, which is designed to identify potential problems that you could be faced with while ensuring your system is performing within the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation and service.

     While we can’t control the next weather event or health crisis that may come our way, we can take steps to secure the buildings we work in and occupy on a daily basis. It is important for property managers and community association managers to have a clear understanding of the way their access control equipment is designed to operate and why, to ensure their buildings are safe and secure during a crisis. It is up to the service providers to help educate managers and provide them with the information they need to reduce system downtime and minimize disruption so we can continue “securing your assets and protecting your people.” 

Gina Hough

President, GNM Hough

     Gina Hough is the President of GNM Hough, and the company installs and services a variety of access control, video surveillance, and intrusion detection systems in the South Florida area. GNM Hough is an active member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Gina and her husband, Michael, believe in giving back and supporting the local business community. Gina is the current Treasurer for the Davie-Cooper City Chamber of Commerce, and she is also the board’s past president. During her spare time, she enjoys watching her youngest son play travel baseball. For more information on GNM Hough, call (954) 797-6886 or visit