Winter is here! Are you security ready?

The cold is setting in and with it comes additional security issues to be considered, says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing & Communications Manager of Fidelity ADT.

“The arrival of winter means that it gets darker earlier in the evenings and lighter later in the mornings. This may end up providing useful cover for any would-be criminals,” she says.

Hattingh says its very important that house numbers painted on the roadside curb are visible. “If you haven’t checked yours in a while please do so. The paint fades over time and as it gets darker earlier it gets harder to see these numbers in the event of an emergency.” She adds that just by having your number visible you can cut off precious minutes in terms of a response time from your security provider or medical response team.

She also raises the issues related to residents keeping animals indoors – out of the cold – during the evening and not activating their home alarm systems.

“It is perfectly understandable that people want to keep their pets indoors where it is warmer. I would recommend asking your security company to ‘animal proof’ your alarm sensors, or that you partition the house in such a way that your alarm system can still offer an early warning system in case someone enters your property,” she says.

Winter brings an increased demand on the national power grid which in turn makes the possibility of blackouts a reality. Hattingh recommends making sure that back-up power supplies are in place to keep lighting, non-functional gate motors and security systems in working condition at all times.

“Leave outside lights on if you know you’re going to get home after dark and partition alarms so that external beams can be set early in the evening, just after you get home.”

She also recommends getting a professional in to check the tensioning of electric fencing as it shrinks in colder weather and this can cause false alarms. “Link smoke detectors to your alarm system. Fires during winter can be caused by heaters, electrical appliances and the cosy fireplace left burning when you go to bed.”

“And please be extra vigilant when leaving and arriving home. If you notice anything suspicious alert your security company or the SAPS immediately,” she concludes.