The Brookhaven City Council voted July 25 to approve spending slightly more than $41,000 to implement gate access programs for first responders to the 59 gated communities now existing in the city.

Developers of new gated communities to be built in the city will be required to pay for the installation of radio frequency identification and siren operating sensor systems that will allow emergency vehicles to enter and respond within gated communities.

“In an emergency, first responders lose precious time entering gated communities. Each development has a different protocol for access, and unmanned entrances become a real hindrance for immediate response,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura in a statement. “In a real emergency, a few extra minutes can be the difference between life and death.”

The change in the ordinance updates the definitions and requirements related to the installation of radio frequency identification and siren operating sensor systems to allow public safety access to developments even if entry gates are unmanned.  The city is paying the some $41,000 to retrofit the existing gated developments. All new gated developments constructed after July 25 will be required to bear the cost of installation as a condition of their building permit.