Access to property critical in case of emergency

Starting a new year is always a good idea to switch around the codes on your security devices, particularly if you have changed tenants or have new domestic staff on the property. But, the cardinal rule is to ensure you alert your security provider to these changes.


Ensuring your security profile is up to date is probably one of the best security measures a homeowner can make. The last thing you want is your security company  being unable to access your property when you are under attack or have a medical emergency just because you changed the code on your access locks and keypads or did not make any provision for the reaction officers to access your property. High walls and electric fences are a great deterrent in keeping criminals out but they can also have the reverse effect if they prevent access by security officers to one’s property.


According to Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications for Fidelity ADT, “We have had cases in the past where our client suffered a medical emergency and even though they pressed their panic, access to the property was a problem as the remote control was out of the client’s reach who was totally incapacitated by a stroke. As a result nobody could enter the property to help her.”


Fidelity recommends if access is difficult, homeowners must consider combination locks, lockboxes or access keypads. Both of these can only be accessed with a secure code shared between the homeowner and the security company. As long as that code is not changed the system works well. “We are however finding in a number of cases recently that a homeowner may have changed their code as a result of an incident or perhaps just as a safety precaution if there have been any changes in staff. This change is often not communicated to the Monitoring Centre and prevents access when the homeowner may need it most.”


Another potential problem is not alerting your security company about any guard dogs on your property.


According to Fidelity ADT’s Standard Operating Procedures, officers will not enter premises where there are vicious dogs. Vicious dogs can pose difficulties for security companies tasked with protecting the property and can prevent entry.


Hattingh says, “We rely on our clients to tell us whether they have dogs, especially vicious dogs, at their premises. We really try and avoid any harm to animals or our officers. All Fidelity ADT Reaction Officers have undergone a dog awareness training, which focuses on identifying dog behaviour, and how the officer’s body language could prevent / provoke a dog attack. They are also equipped with pepper spray and a baton which is used as a first line of defence in a dog attack. Our officers wear pants made of a dog bite resistant material. The safety of our Officers and the well-being of our customer’s pets are a key priority.”


Home owners are urged to keep all of these special instructions up to date to ensure their own safety and that of their family members.