Following an incident where a building on fire was surrounded by an electric fence, the Sandy Springs City Council approved a citywide ban on them and barbed wire fences.

Police Chief Ken DeSimone said at the council’s Jan. 15 meeting that he recently visited the scene of a fire on Lake Forrest Drive and nearly touched a live electric fence surrounding the property before being alerted. The fences pose a safety hazard and stall emergency services efforts, the ordinance, which passed unanimously, said.

“When installed incorrectly, electric fences can trigger shocks that can have dangerous outcomes, especially to people with preexisting health conditions,” the city staff’s recommendation said “Further, impediments such as barbed wire or concertina wire can pose a threat to emergency responders and waste valuable seconds in the event of an emergency, endangering the property owner installing and maintaining the impediments as well as adjacent property owners.”

Barbed and concertina, or razor wire in a circular shape, is now banned in the city along with the electric fences.

Councilmember John Paulson said he was concerned that businesses and property owners would be immediately violating this new law and amended the measure to give them a 30-day grace period before it is enforced.

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