The start of the year is a very opportune time to consider whether home and business security systems are still adequate, and to decide if changes are required.
One of South Africa’s largest security companies believes there are basic questions everyone should be asking. The answers, they say, would determine what would need to happen next.
“When last did you test your home alarm system,” asks Fidelity ADT Security’s managing executive Stuart Clarkson. “You must be sure that the system still works and that your security company will receive an alarm signal in case of an emergency.”
Clarkson says the next step is to make sure your security company has all your updated contact information so that they know exactly who to contact in case of an emergency. This includes the details of secondary contact people, in case the main contact person is not reachable.
“The Next step is to do a walk around your home and property. If you have big bushes or plants in your garden, make sure they don’t obscure any outdoors passive or infrared alarm sensors. For those who have done renovations to their homes, I would recommend checking if the new rooms or areas are adequately covered by the alarm system and that your alarm system or components have not been compromised or damaged during the renovations.”
He also recommends storing valuables, such as bicycles and children’s toys, and anything that could be used to break into your home in a locked garage or shed. Ideally one protected by an outdoor or passive infrared detector to reduce the likelihood of being able to take advantage of the tools once they have broken into them.
Business owners too, he says, should use this time of year to reassess their security needs and the systems they have in place. Wear and tear on security systems is a reality and maintenance, upgrades and replacements are a necessity.
“Waiting until the system becomes faulty is not ideal. Unfortunately we do encounter incidents at small businesses where a break-in has occurred and only then do business owners realise that their security system was not operating correctly. With regular maintenance and testing, this can be avoided.”
There are several options for perimeter security such as access control, gates, electric fencing, and beams. As a first line of defence, it is essential that perimeter security is in a good condition and checked regularly.
CCTV systems are no longer as prohibitively expensive as they may have been in the past, and even small business owners can now consider them as options. Burglar bars, security gates and an alarm system linked to a reaction service are all also vital components of the solution.
“Fires are a very real threat and should be taken seriously. Having a fire escape plan, extinguishers and smoke detectors at the property are also must-haves,” says Clarkson.
“It is always best to get a professional in to assess your security solutions at home or at work if you are unsure about whether it is still adequate. These experts will be able to identify any vulnerable areas and offer the best solutions.”