Last night's Allotment Holders meeting featured an interesting discussion on whether site gates should remain locked at all times, and whether this would impede the work of the emergency services in gaining access to treat a plotholder or a council worker taken ill while on site. There are arguments on both sides, and perhaps special circumstances when considering the location of the America Lane site - direct access off a main road - as against other sites which are accessed via cul des sacs or narrow approach ways, and thus less tempting to vandals and pilferers.
I'd be interested to hear responses from other users on this point. As was pointed out at the meeting, some allotment holders have emergency call numbers on their mobile phones; others advocate having something like a Treatment card, which shows what medication the user is taking and what allergies they have. Has anyone else had issues about being cut off from necessary help, and if so, how did it get resolved? There may be some useful lessons to learn here.
As a woman often attending the allotment early morning, or evening and often being the only person on the site, I value the feeling of security by locking the gate behind me. I would not feel safe if the gates were left open.
However, i do understand the need for security and access by emergency services but have no suggestions how this may work - except by reinstating the old discussion of having a combination lock on the gates rather than a key.
I always have my mobile phone on my body when at the allotment so would hopefully be able to phone for help... in the event that i couldn't - hopefully someone would find me soon!! A combination lock number could be given to the emergency services by the person summoning help.
As I understand it, people who have severe allergies or are on medication usually have a card/medallion that they carry with them.... I cannot think of another way of dealing with this but hope that most people would take their own security seriously if these issues were of paramount importance for emergency services to know about.
We do have to remember, i think, that emergencies are, thankfully rare..... unless there are more going on than i know about... but I think security is a greater issue - and for me, I want to feel secure when I am on the allotment.