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They’re everywhere.  The sports news anchor is in front of one conducting an interview outside the arena.  Employees have them on their shoulders as they record fans doing silly things that are worthy of being posted on the jumbo-tron for everyone to see.  How about the cameras that are actually capturing what we all came to see…the game?

Cameras of all types are all around us at sporting events.  But we don’t always see the ones that are designed to keep us safe during that game and help plan for the safety of future events.

And it’s not just security cameras that are a key component to video surveillance at sporting events, it’s the digital recording software as well, and the network infrastructure that is in place.  Not to mention the equipment in the control rooms such as multiple monitors that display feeds from several cameras on each screen at once.

So what are the reasons the sporting venues invest so much capital in video surveillance for their sporting events? 

This can be partially answered when you examine who is attending these games.  They are “fans”, which is short for “fanatic”.  When 75,000 fanatics are tightly squeezed into one space for three hours for an important game, emotions can run high.  Fights can happen.

Video surveillance is needed to detect disturbances in the crowd and for security to dispatch necessary personnel to handle these eruptions.

Unfortunately, due to the times we live in, terrorism is a concern at sporting events.  Groups with ill intent see these large groups of people in one place at one time as an opportunity to do evil.

Video surveillance is also needed in special areas such as at turnstiles and at entrances and exits—crowd control can be a challenge in these spots and being able to provide proper staffing with the use of security cameras is essential.

Other areas of need include money-handling locations to monitor both employees (in an effort to guard against employee theft) and patrons who also may be intent on robbery.  Parking lots are another hot spot where parties need to be kept under control and drug activity has to be eliminated, for instance.

We’ve mentioned some of the equipment used by sporting arenas—from cameras to monitors, but let’s get a little more specific.

With large crowds, high definition and clarity is important.  The ability to zoom in on a section or even on an individual is crucial.  When zooming occurs, often a grainy appearance can be the result if the proper equipment is not being utilized.

Megapixel security cameras allow for the operator to zoom in on objects and people with a great degree of clarity as the result. 

This is essential for benefits such as facial recognition.  Facial recognition is an important function at sporting events with large attendance since it can be used to locate known criminals or those that have been banned from the facility and have found their way back.

Although megapixel cameras allow for the operator to achieve better facial recognition than analog security cameras provide, it is actually the digital video recording software that is behind the technology, not the cameras.

Speaking of software functionality, another feature that it provides that is beneficial in sporting arenas is “people counting”.  This is helpful for the aforementioned crowd control  and subsequent staffing needs, to gauge the effectiveness of sales outlets such as pro shops by counting how many patrons are entering and exiting, and more.

And what about protection of the facility itself?  Video surveillance helps prevent vandalism as well as apprehend those that commit it.  Patrons feigning slips and falls are also a problem.   Having video evidence of the incident can help prove that it was a bogus act if it was in fact done in jest. 

Finally…are we forgetting someone?  How about the players?  Video surveillance protects them as well.  If a fan in the stands hurls an object onto the playing surface, security cameras can identify that individual and apprehend him or her.  Players are also at risk as they leave or enter the playing surface and are in proximity to the spectators.

The next time you’re watching your favorite team dominate the competition, and the game is a little out of hand, take a moment to spot a few cameras, think of all the needs that those cameras serve, and wonder where those covert cameras that may be watching your are hidden!

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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In answer to the title to this piece: Don't count on it yet.

But if you ever have the chance to use a landline (a “traditional” phone that is plugged into a jack in the wall, or a cordless phone with a housing that is attached to a jack), make sure to use it instead of a cell phone when calling 9-1-1.

Why?  Because with all landlines, the 9-1-1 operator will be able to confirm your location each time.  And just as importantly, if a connection is lost, he or she can still send the authorities to the address associated with your phone number—no matter how much was said before your conversation was terminated.

Using a landline can be a challenge since more and more 9-1-1 calls are being placed by people using cell phones each year.  Some homes don’t even use landlines anymore—cell phones are the primary communication method.

And if an emergency occurs at a park, for instance, and there are people present as witnesses, it is highly likely that many of them have will cell phones.  It is reasons such as this that the use of cell phones for emergency calls is rapidly increasing.  No one is running to pay phones anymore. 

Since 9-1-1 calls made on cell phones do not always reveal the location of the caller as do calls made form landlines,make sure to give the operator your cell phone number immediately when you use your cell phone to make the call.  Also, report the exact location of where you are and/or where the incident that you’re reporting is occurring.

Since many 9-1-1 calls from cell phones go to a regional center that may not be quite so close to you, be sure not to leave out the actual town or city that you’re calling from (as opposed to only saying the street and address).

As written in a report on ABC’s Good Morning America website, in order for 9-1-1 systems to be able to locate a cell phone caller, they need have something called “enhanced 911”.  Cell phone companies, local carriers and 911 centers all have to install special equipment to achieve this.

ABC also reports that some cell phone companies are collecting a tax to install the necessary equipment that allows 911 systems to be able to locate cell phone callers.

According to About.com, the Federal Trade Commission is requiring that cell phone carriers do in fact make it possible to determine the longitude and latitude of 9-1-1 cell phone callers over time—it is being done in phases.

Be sure to contact your cell phone company and ask if your state has the technology installed to make it possible to determine location.  It’s beneficial to know ahead of time if it’s sufficient to use your cell phone when you call 9-1-1.  But as was mentioned at the outset of this piece, if you have the choice and all else is equal, it is recommended to use a landline.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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In recent years, many new police stations have been constructed as part of municipal safety complexes, complete with fire stations, for instance.

Although budgets have been slim in the current financial atmosphere, some law enforcement jurisdictions have been able to secure necessary federal and local grants that have been available for this construction.

Pictured above is a combination biometric and card access system, ideal for police stations.

But there are many police stations, especially in smaller jurisdictions, that haven’t had the opportunity to undergo these transformations for a variety of reasons, most common of which is funding.

Due to this, in many cases, facilities in these stations are severely outdated—facilities such as evidence rooms and armories.

Along with outdated evidence rooms and armories comes the fact that keys for the doors to these rooms may be floating around due to employees having left, misplacement of the keys, etc.  After all, it just makes sense that the older the room, the higher the chances there are extra keys out there unaccounted for.

So what’s the answer?  In two words:  Access Control.  Electronic access control systems actually.

The good news is that there are a variety of options for police stations.  We’ll talk about a few below.

Card or fob access.  Three principle components are needed to achieve this form of access control:  a credential (a card or fob), a card reader and an electric strike (lock) that releases when the credential is presented to the card reader. 

The credentials can be presented in proximity to the card reader to complete the transaction.  In this case they are commonly referred to as “prox” cards and readers.  Or another type allows them to be swiped and a magnetic stripe is read instead.

Biometrics.  This form of access control can be ideal for evidence rooms and armories.  It’s most effective because it is not possible for anyone else to use your credential if you lose it to gain access—your body’s characteristics are the credentials.  These include the iris, finger and palm prints, and more.

A positive aspect to having these two options available is that police don’t have to choose all of one type. 

There can be card readers set up throughout the facility in places such as at the entrance from the lobby into the control and dispatch rooms, in the holding area as well as at the back entrance.  And biometrics can then be used in the evidence room and the armory for a higher level of security and more accountability.

Please note that biometrics is not the only answer for evidence rooms and armories.  Card readers are quite appropriate as well.

Each one of these types of access control systems establishes the all-important audit trail.  This is a tremendous advantage over locks and keys.  Audit trails provide a story of who went where, and when.

If evidence turns up missing, and a card access system was in place, a report can be produced immediately.

So if your station is of a certain age where not only evidence and weapons may be compromised, but access may be insufficient to other areas of the facility, please consider an upgrade to an electronic access control system from traditional lock and keys.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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This is certainly an appropriate time of year to talk about freeze alarms since freezing pipes are a chief concern for many homeowners, facility managers and the like this time of year.

These vital devices can save your home or business from tens of thousands of dollars in damage due to flooding, spoiled food and more.

Pictured above is an EnviroAlert by Windland, with features beyond just a freeze alarm.

When it’s time to talk to your security integrator about a freeze alarm, you may see that there are many choices—many versions that perform different functions.  Today we’ll attempt to explain some of these so that you’ll be better informed.

First of all, what is a freeze alarm?  Well, the most basic version of a freeze alarm alerts you that the temperature in a given area has dropped below a pre-determined level.

This alert can come in the form of automated phone calls to a string of people (sometimes with a recorded message describing the problem).  It can trigger your security panel to dial the monitoring company and a live operator can begin contacting the call list as well.  It could even cause an alarm to sound.

One type of freeze alarm is referred to as a fixed temperature alert.  If this were to be used in a residential setting to prevent pipes from freezing, a common temperature for the alarm to be set at would be 41 degrees.

Another type of freeze alarm is referred to as mechanical, or digital.  This version can be set for both low and high temperature thresholds.  So it’s not only “freezing” that is being guarded against. 

Others have remote programming capabilities and allow the user to set alerts for not only temperature, but for humidity and water sensing.  They too protect against more than just freezing, but also provide a higher level of programming functionality. 

This last type would be used in situations where there is a walk-in freezer at a restaurant or school, for instance.  A monitor unit would be affixed at a central location for reading purposes, and often up to four probes can be run off of this unit into varying locations (to more than one freezer, for instance).

The programming flexibility allows for such design as to be able to create windows of time where no alert would be triggered.  For instance, if employees were loading and unloading items into and out of the cooler for a period of time, the temperature is naturally going to rise inside. 

So instead of instantly setting off an alert due to this rising temperature (past the pre-determined limit), a two-hour window would have been created beforehand so that only if the temperature is above that level for over two hours will alarm sound.

These are not the only types of freeze alarms available to choose from, as we mentioned, there are many more combinations.  We simply wanted you to be better armed with a little information when it’s time to tackle your environmental monitoring needs this winter.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Are you keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

For some people, this time of year is like a broken record…or should I say, a broken resolution.  They set all the popular goals at the first of the year:  get in shape, get organized, be in better touch with family, etc.

Many actually set records for the fastest breaking of New Year’s resolutions, because basically, some of them never start.  They say they’ll start on New Year’s Day, but then justify not starting yet because it’s a holiday—“I’ll start tomorrow,” they say.  Then tomorrow comes and they feel down because the holiday week is over and it’s time to get back to work, and they’re not in the proper mood to begin resolutions. 

Enough about the negative aspect of these goals for the New Year—this blog post is about providing three very achievable resolutions related to your security goals—whether you’re a business or homeowner.

Let’s discuss these three things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your security system.

Install Security Lighting.  This is an ancillary component of your security system, but very effective and easy to implement.  If you don’t use interior and exterior lighting strategies, talk to your security integrator here in the New Year.

Exterior lighting typically comes in the form of a motion sensor unit attached to a light, often a flood light or set of two.  But any light could be used.  When someone walks in the field of the sensor, the light will turn on.

Burglars and vandals hate this.  In order to break into a house or business, they need to approach the building and then work their way in through an opening.  Having an automatic light spoil these plans, as well as illuminate their hiding places, is very effective and can stop a crime before it even begins.

Please note that you may not be able to install the lighting so that it illuminates every area of your home or business, so please don’t rely on this method as your only security measure.  It is simply one layer that augments the greater system.

Also, if you don’t have motion sensor lighting and tend to leave your exterior lights on all night when you’re away, for instance, this may be a sign to thieves that no one is home.

Regarding the inside of your home, timer lights can be used to make it appear as if someone is home when you’re away.  These can be programmed to go on and off at different times in various areas of the house.

And just like exterior lighting, please do not leave inside lights on continually if you go away as this is often a giveaway that you’re not home.

Put Your Security System to the Test.  Don’t wait until the moment of truth to ensure that your system is in good working order.  Take the New Year as a time to put your system on test and make sure it’ll be there when you need it.

The benefit is that no one on your contact list will be called when your devices trigger an alarm.  No authorities will be notified.  No police will show up at your door.  You have free reign to make sure everything works properly.

Go ahead.  Set off the alarm by first arming your security system, then proceed to open doors or windows, walk by motion detectors, etc.  Let the siren sound.  Your neighbors may be curious but that’s about it.

You can either arrange to call your monitoring company when you’re done to have your system taken off test mode, or when you first called, you could have chosen to have it resume its regular mode at a set time.  But please note that you have to call your monitoring company first to arrange the test.

Maintain Your Equipment and Devices.  The New Year is also a good time to clean and maintain your security devices. 

For instance, cobwebs and bugs can be cleared from inside motion detectors to ensure that they are not being obstructed.

Also, lenses of security cameras can be cleaned of smudges to ensure a clear image when it counts.

Be sure to isolate important incidents on your DVR and save them to a CD, DVD, USB drive, etc. before its memory becomes full.  It’s always a good idea to save them as they occur and not put it off.

So there you have it.  Three absolutely attainable goals for 2013 as they relate to your security system. 

 

And we wish you great luck on your personal resolutions.  Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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You hear it all the time, "technology has come a long way."  Even with this phrase on the tip of our tongues nowadays, some of us are still reluctant to take the leap into more advanced technologies.  

Pictured Above is a Inovonics Wall Mount Motion Detector

We understand that there are many rational reasons why this is the case, especially with regard to wireless devices for your security system...specifically, motion detectors and window and door contacts.

In the past, people had legitimate concerns about the range, or more accurately, clarity of signal, that wireless devices such as these had.  They also did not want to be changing batteries too frequently either.

Well, these two valid concerns have basically gone by the wayside in recent years due to technological advances.  Today's wireless security devices provide a strong and reliable signal and lithium batteries are offering up to five years of battery life.

These are not the only areas that wireless security has advanced.  Two-way verification of device integrity is now also employed.  Basically, the panel sends a signal to the wireless devices and looks to receive an "I'm ok" message back from each device.

One final note on wireless security devices: Speaking of two-way communication, make sure you're being quoted "apples to apples" with regard key fob transmitters.

One company's wireless key fob transmitter may be more expensive, but for good reason--it may not only arm the system when you press a button, but it will also inform you that the system's been armed (gives you the system state).

One-way transmitters, which may be less expensive, may arm the system, but do not inform you that the system's been armed.  You basically have to "take it on faith" that it has done its job in this case.

So be sure to consult with your security company to take full advantage of all that wireless security devices have to offer.  Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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So you’ve put together a short list of commercial locksmiths to contact for your building’s project and you’re ready to make some calls.

Maybe you received referrals from your colleagues, conducted internet searches and even consulted organizations such as the ALOA (detailed later in this piece).

But the fact remains…how are you going to create the proper fit between the provider and your needs?  We hope the following 5 questions arm you with a foundation that helps you to choose your commercial locksmith.

Do you give free locksmith surveys?

Make sure to find a commercial locksmith who will take the time to consult with you to help uncover needs—before any work “on the clock” begins.  This way, you get a free survey of your property and may discover areas that need attention about which you had no idea previously. 

Although this free survey takes valuable time of locksmiths, most will realize the benefits to both sides, so don’t be shy in asking for it.  Make sure to discuss the results of this free survey with your locksmith.

If a commercial locksmith isn’t willing to visit your location and inspect the integrity of doors, frames and hinges, as well as panic hardware, thresholds and more at no charge, then you may want to move onto the next provider.

Are you a member of ALOA?

This is the acronym for Associated Locksmiths of America.  Membership is not a requirement to be a commercial locksmith, but it certainly indicates legitimacy.  Plus, if you are choosing between two or three, and one doesn’t belong to this organization, this may narrow down your search.

The organization provides education, not only on pure lock issues, but areas such as access control where locksmith overlaps with security.  It also provides a support network through conventions and the like, a code of ethics and more.

Does your company provide access control systems as well?

You may want a provider who can install or service a door from “soup to nuts”.  In other words, if a new door is being installed, and more than just typical hardware is involved, some locksmiths can handle the whole job.

For instance, an access control system may need to be installed, complete with an electric strike (the part that actually locks) and a card reader (the proximity pad or swipe receiver where the access card or fob is presented).

Having one provider makes sense from a trust standpoint—since you’ve already established a relationship with that locksmith.  It can also make sense from a pricing standpoint.

Do you have the capacity to serve us as our company grows?

You may call on a commercial locksmith for things like servicing door closers or panic bars in your building, and they may return routinely in the future for things like installing leversets, for example.

But what about when you construct that new 25,000 square foot facility?  Can your locksmith handle large commercial fit ups and new construction?  These tasks can include installation of scores of wooden doors, many sets of hollow metal doors, glass entryways, and much more.

What is your geographical range?

This question is important because you want to make sure you’re not being charged extra if you are a certain distance away.

The first visit may not be a major issue in terms of cost if you have to pay a premium for mileage due to your location, but the goal is to establish a long-term relationship, and these fees can add up over time. 

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Since hospitals are generally easy to walk into and wander around inside, electronic security needs to be as strong as possible to compensate.  Especially with violent acts occurring nationwide, such as those by disgruntled patients.

Decision makers certainly want effective hospital security, but they tend to not desire an overly present force—they don’t want to raise fears.  So there can be a challenge to provide both sufficient personnel as well as an abundance of electronic security while maintaining a relaxed environment.

Hospital security is needed due to the fact that hospitals themselves are also targets.  They house expensive equipment, computers, drugs, even precious babies that can be the center of controversy.  We’ll cover these, as well as other areas in the ten points that follow.

We’ll talk about how the main tenants of security (CCTV, Access Control and more) apply.

ER and waiting room.  Access control and video surveillance are important in these areas.  In regard to access control, a focus must be made between these two areas in order to limit who can enter the emergency department from the very public waiting room.  Emotions run high and family members are desperate to see their relatives inside, but the professionals need the space to do their work.  A proximity or swipe card system can be in place to only allow authorized personnel to enter.

Video surveillance will allow the security department to monitor any disturbances in this aforementioned cauldron of emotion and public gathering during tense situations.

Pharmacy and other drug concentrations.  Access control can be used where credentials are required to be presented to a card reader so an audit trail is established.  This way, a record is kept of who came and went, and when.  Video surveillance can even be used in conjunction with video analytics software to trigger an alarm in the security office if a person enters during an unauthorized time, etc.

Administraton / record keeping.  Due to HIPPA standards, for instance, access control is necessary in these areas to establish the audit trail mentioned above.

Nurse stations / patient rooms.  Nurse call stations are essential for patients who require critical and timely care.  A simple press of a button summonses the nurse station from the patient’s room. 

Intercom can also be set up inside the patient rooms.

Ambulance ports / parking lots / loading docks.  Security departments need to have a solid grip on these exterior locations via video surveillance.  Ambulance entrances need to be kept clear and monitored for proper personnel to be present.  Thefts and accidents happen in parking lots and garages, so having video evidence to solve disputes and help catch thieves and vandals is effective.  And finally, loading docks can be loose in their access control.  Having card readers to solidify who can enter and exit with proper authority and having security cameras for the security department to be able to monitor are essential.

For instance, employee theft of expensive equipment can occur through this area.

Retail / other cash handling areas.  This goes without saying.  Security Cameras, especially megapixel technology which allows for better facial recognition than traditional analog security cameras, not only provides evidence of a robbery or theft, but also provides a deterrent. 

Panic buttons that transmit to the security department or to police can be set up under the cashier’s counter also.

Maternity / nursery.  You can’t argue that this is the most valued of all areas to protect.  Access control in conjunction with video can be used at the department entrance so the nurse station can control who enters, and just as importantly, who exits.

Ankle bracelets can be worn on the babies’ legs to trigger an alarm if they’re carried out past a certain point.

ICU / Surgical areas.  Just like controlling entry to the ER as we mentioned earlier, access control needs to be established for entry into these highly sensitive departments.

Psychiatric unit.  Video surveillance and “wander alarms” will help the security department and nurses control the retention of patients inside this department. Wander alarms trigger if a door or window is opened.  The caregiver’s pendant vibrates or buzzes to indicate that the patient has opened a door or window and is about to leave.

Elevators / corridors / lobbies.  These highly public areas require video surveillance for security to maintain order.  Among the things that can be done with the aforementioned video analytics software is to people-count.  This helps with personnel positioning, staffing, etc.

The above are certainly not the only areas in a hospital that require security, but these ten certainly would be considered important nonetheless.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Your fire safety plan may include a family plan for exits, knowledge of fire extinguisher locations, keeping fresh batteries in your smoke detectors, and more.  But does it include heat detectors?

Pictured above is a heat detector

We’ve written about heat detectors previously, more so in a comparison with smoke detectors.  Today, we wanted to drill down a bit more on heat detectors themselves.

Heat detectors are an additional component to your fire safety system; they do not replace smoke detectors.  They are often neglected when systems are installed, but it’s never too late to add them to your home or business.

So you realize you don’t have heat detectors and would like to add them to complement your smoke detectors, but what types are there?  Where should they go?

First of all, there are two types of heat detectors, so you want to make sure you purchase the correct type for the correct location of your house or business.

The two heat detector classifications are fixed temperature (the most common type) and rate of rise.

Fixed temperature heat detectors activate when the detector’s sensor reaches a fixed temperature, at a range beginning at 120 degrees F.

Rate of rise heat detectors measure the rise in temperature over a period of time and the alarm will sound if it deems the temperature rose too fast.  It can activate at a lower temperature than fixed sensors because it’s the rate, not the absolute temperature that is the factor.  They are not ideal for slowly developing fires.

To take the guessing out of which one to install, talk to your security or fire expert about combination heat detectors.

Heat detectors are most often found in attics (where dust particles would disrupt the operation of a smoke detector), utility rooms, kitchens (which produce smoke) and the like.

Fixed temperature models are a good choice for the kitchen not only due the presence of cooking smoke, but also since a fast heating oven can cause the rate of rise type to alarm unnecessarily.

A rate of rise detector might be better in places where a rapidly combustible fire can quickly begin, such as a garage with fuels and chemicals present, or a utility closet.

So the key is to find the areas in your home or business that aren’t covered by smoke detectors, then determine which of the two types of heat detectors would be appropriate for those areas.

Don’t leave anything to chance.  Be sure to speak with a security integrator, a fire official or other fire safety professional.

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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Businesses in need of commercial security systems will typically secure their properties with alarm monitoring, access control, video surveillance, fire protection and environmental monitoring for example.

But when it comes to the alarm monitoring aspect, it’s worth looking into more than just the basic monitoring function offered at the base rate for your commercial security system.

What if you’re a business owner who can’t be there at the open but wants to make sure the facility is opened on time for quality purposes?  Or for safety purposes, you want to make sure the person who is working alone on the closing shift has closed up on time safely. 

Wouldn’t it be convenient to get reports on these events and be notified if they didn’t happen as scheduled?

If in fact they did not occur, that would have meant that a signal wasn’t sent via the control panel at the business to the central station monitoring company.

The aforementioned reports are called open and close reports and they can be supervised or unsupervised.  A supervised open or close report will have someone at the monitoring company contact the designated person at your business if it wasn’t opened or closed at the proper time and it gives the above-mentioned benefits.

A benefit of unsupervised open and close reports is an audit trail of who is arming and disarming your system.  If someone comes into the business in the middle of the night and disarms, only to steal merchandise, you will be able to know who it was.

Test timers are another layer of security that your monitoring company offers.  These are required with commercial fire alarm systems.  These work by having your fire alarm system send in a test to the monitoring company to make sure it is online.

These are not required for security systems but are certainly a good idea if you are concerned about your phone lines being cut, for instance.  You would have no idea that they were cut if no alarmed event were to happen for a given amount of time, unless a test signal were regularly sent.

So when you talk to your security integrator and ask what the commercial monitoring fee is, you’re most likely going to get the base rate quoted.  Be sure to ask about open and close reports as well as test timers.

Take the extra steps.  Create a more secure business.  The information and convenience that you receive for a reasonable fee for these additional services is considered by many to be quite equitable.

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Do you ever have a feeling that you forgot to set your home alarm system when you’re out?  Would you like to disarm the system for a contractor that your neighbor is meeting at your house but you don’t want to give either of them your code?

With a remote keypad feature, where a virtual keypad appears on your smart phone or tablet, you can accomplish these things.

If you’re on your way to a family member’s house for Thanksgiving and you’ve already logged significant miles, turning back would be quite a hindrance—especially with holiday traffic.

A passenger in your vehicle can use a mobile device of choice and check the status of your home security system with a remote keypad function.

An exact image of your actual keypad in your hallway at home is right on your device’s screen.  You simply touch the screen as if you were pressing buttons on your keypad and it gives the same commands to your security panel in your basement, for instance.

Or maybe it’s as simple as you coming down the street and your passenger disarms your system ahead of time because you have a load of groceries that you’d like to just walk in with, without having to stop and disarm the system.

Napco Security offers a specific product called iRemote Virtual Keypad, also known as Gemini Virtual Keypad because it exactly mirrors a Gemini keypad by Napco.

As Napco states on its website, “Gemini Virtual Keypad is a mirror-image remote control keypad on a web-based interface, fully-functional and accessible online from any web browser or any PC or iphone smart phone anywhere in the world.”

With Napco’s product, it can even save you money in the long run because your security integrator can perform some troubleshooting or updates without having to make an in-person service call.

And as Napco also states on its website, to make it a complete package of remote accessibility, customers can add iSee Video—remote video monitoring to their package.  This can be accessed from the same video subscriber website.

For more information on the in’s and out’s of remote video monitoring, see our past blog article by clicking here.

So feel at ease when you leave home and enjoy the convenience of having your home security system’s keypad at your fingertips, wherever your mobile device or PC is available.

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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These days, any discussion on security during the shopping season must include a combination of both online security and security for yourself when you’re out and about. 

Pictured above is a mall parking lot at night--a prime breeding ground for crime.

People are simply using both of these methods, with more and more online shopping happening every year.  But inevitably, trips still need to be made to the mall as well, so we hope these various holiday security tips help during the upcoming holiday season.

First, the “out and about” tips:

1. When shopping at night, certainly park under lights when possible, not near dumpsters, trees or other obstructions.  Try to shop with someone.

2. Before you get in your car in the parking lot, look in the back seat and other parts of your car.

3. Have your keys ready when you arrive at your vehicle so you don’t have to spend time fumbling for them.  Don’t be afraid to ask for an escort from the mall or the store security or personnel.

4. Try not to carry cash when you can.  Instead, use credit cards but don’t let the clerk leave your sight when you’re purchasing with them.  Have them swipe in front of you.

5. Pickpockets are prevalent because malls are crowded.  Carry purses tightly under arms and try to carry your wallet in your front pocket.

6. Keep photocopies of your credit cards, license and other wallet contents in a safe location not only before you shop, but all the time.

7. Carry your keys, cash and credit cards separate from one another.

8. Pick your ATM’s carefully.  Don’t use those in remote locations and be careful with crowded units where people can look over your shoulder.  Also, be careful if you’re alone or there’s just one other person.  Try to withdraw your cash in a safe, well-lit area before you shop, or when you have a partner with you.  In summary, use common sense and be safe.

Now for a few Online Security Tips:

9. Watch out for enticing email links, such as great sales—especially from people you know.  A friend’s computer may have been infected and his or her address book was scoured.  Then, emails were sent out with links that will be sent to you and if you open them, they could infect your system or “phish” for your sensitive financial information.

10. Make sure “https” (as opposed to “http”) appears at the beginning of the url field at the top of your browser when you’re purchasing items online.  The “s” stands for secure and means the page is encrypted for your internet financial safety.

11. Use credit cards instead of debit cards when purchasing online whenever possible.  Credit cards offer protection against fraud—you can be reimbursed in most cases when proper procedures are followed.  With debit cards, thieves have access to your cash and can empty your account without that same protection.

Instead of letting all the potential security issues in this article put a damper on your holiday season, look on the bright side...you're now armed with plenty of tips that'll enable you enjoy this festive time even more!

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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One main component of security is prevention, and security cameras are a chief player in this equation.  They need to be seen.  What good would hidden cameras be if you’re trying to prevent a crime from happening in the first place?

The image above shows a visible exterior security camera.

If you’re going to make your security cameras visible by others, position them up high enough and/or use vandal resistant security cameras and housings.

One could argue that having signs posted that announce that you’re using video surveillance may help, but there’s nothing like someone seeing the cameras themselves.  And of course a mixture of the two is ideal.

And what about “dummy” security cameras?  Are these effective enough to use as your visible cameras?  Be careful, many thieves can see right through these.  They often know a real from a fake and it may not deter them.

A common giveaway that a security camera is a dummy is that its red light flashes several times once you walk by, or maybe it pans.  This is just a reaction to motion but no viewing or recording is taking place. 

If you have hidden cameras, and they end up doing their job by capturing quality video footage of criminals, those people still need to be found and prosecuted after-the-fact.  And hopefully then, maybe you can still get your property back or have restitution paid to repair any damage.  This isn’t always the case.

This is not to say that hidden or covert security cameras don’t have their place.  If an employer is trying to capture bad behavior by an employee on video as evidence to fire him or her, for example, they certainly are very effective.

If your security cameras are hidden, one way to make them more effective is to use remote video monitoring--sending you email alerts real time.  This can help prevent the difficulty of pursuing the offenders after-the-fact as mentioned above.  It allows the owner to be alerted real-time so he or she can contact the authorities and respond.

The best solution of course is to have a mix of the two types of video surveillance.  We’re not trying to straddle both sides of the fence in answer to the title of this blog post—it really is a great way to go if you have covert cameras and visible security cameras together.

But if you had to choose one type, as detailed in the beginning of this article, you may want to consider visibly posted security cameras in and around your property.  This is the best way to prevent crime from happening in the first place.

All the headaches of filling out police reports, insurance paperwork, dealing with the emotional distress and repairing the physical damage may never happen if you are able to prevent the crime from happening from the outset. 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

 

 

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What is Your Alarm System’s Role After a Power Outage?

You may be thinking that it’s a bit late to write a blog on this topic—we just had a major weather event…

Hurricane season may be just about over, but winter storms with high winds, fallen branches onto power lines due to heavy snow and ice storms are here…such as the Nor’Easter we were just victim to this week.

When a storm is coming, you watch the weather reports for days and know exactly when the powerful storm is going to hit.  So you in turn prepare.  The news reporters are outside grocery and hardware stores showing people in line for batteries and spring water.  Hopefully you’ve beaten those crowds or had your provisions on hand already.

But what about after the storm?  What about your alarm system?  Will it still protect you?  Even if it is running on back-up power, can it still transmit to the monitoring company if there is an alarmed event?  How long will the battery last?  Will it report to you if your phone line is down and it can’t send out a signal to the central station?

Your Alarm System’s Battery Issues

First of all, know that your alarm system can run on its own battery power for some time. But this is measured in hours, not days.  And it’s not an exact science.  Due to many variations such as the age of one’s battery, for one, it’s hard to say exactly how many hours your alarm system’s battery will last.  And it’s only going to be effective if the power outage hasn’t also taken out your phone service—unless of course you have cellular / radio back-up.

You will certainly know when your battery is getting low after you’ve lost power.  Your keypad will beep with a not-so-pleasant cadence until you hit the reset button.  Some people will go to their security panel (the metal box usually located in your basement) and unhook the wires that attach to the battery which rests inside the panel.

This will stop the beeping, but more importantly to some, it saves their battery from completely draining.  People that choose to do this need to know that they are disabling their security system—it will not provide them protection once they do this.  We do not recommend either way whether to do this or not.  It is completely up to the individual if they wish to save the battery’s “juice”.

If they do in fact disconnect the battery, or even if they didn’t and the power comes back on in a matter of hours, know that your security panel battery is just like a car battery.  It needs some time to charge in an “up and running” system with power before it is back to its normal levels—assuming it wasn’t drained beyond the point of no return.  Typically, 24 hours is enough.

What if Your Phone Lines Go Down?

In terms of reporting, if the storm has taken down your phone line, the central station monitoring company will have no way of knowing this.  Unless, of course, you have signed up for an extra service where the monitoring company supervises your line regularly and would in fact pick up this occurrence. 

And remember, of course, if you plug your security power supply into a generator and the power outage has disabled your phone, it is going to have no way of transmitting to the central station, so it is in fact ineffective.

Regarding your system indicating to you (as opposed to the monitoring company) that your phone line has been disabled, it is possible to have this done.  Please note that it can be quite a nuisance however.  Phone and cable companies do frequent work on telephone lines, often late at night, and this will trigger your keypad to go into a trouble mode and beep if you take this step.

Time to Clear Your System

If you see a message on your keypad that reads something to the effect of "Com Fail", it' s time to clear your system and get it restored.  This is the result of your system trying to send a signal to the central station when you did not have a phone line, for instance.

Call your monitoring company and have them put your system on "test".  This will allow you to trip the alarm (after you arm it) by opening a door, walking past a motion detector, etc.  When the siren sounds, simply disarm it.  Because it is on test mode, no authorities will be notified or other call outs made.

Once this is done, simply reset your system and ask your monitoring company to take you off test.

So we hope this information helps now that winter storm season is on the horizon.  Please have your 24-hour central station monitoring company’s phone number handy for questions.  Remember, this is typically different than the security company who installed your system—they may not be 24 hours nor be the appropriate people to speak with regarding signal issues at a crucial time.

 

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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So you just moved into your new home and you’ve experienced all the excitement as well as the exhaustion that goes along with the transition. 

The furniture is in place, the utilities are set and you’ve even been out in the yard putting some personal touches on the landscape to truly make it yours.

Pictured above is a Gemini Security Panel (back) and Keypad (front).

But what about that security panel that is down in the basement and keypad that is in the hallway from the last owner?  You’re fairly certain that you want to have a home security system, but who do you talk to?

Do you have to use the same company that installed that security system, or do you have the choice to use other companies?  What is the process?  We will answer these questions in the paragraphs to follow.

The first thing you may want to do is to contact a few local security integrators.  You can check your local yellow pages or equivalent, contact your local chamber of commerce or search the internet of course.

Before you call, it helps to know what kind of security panel you have.  Again, this is typically located in your basement and is a metal box approximately 1.5 x 2 feet affixed to the wall.  If you open the door, there is usually a string of numbers and letters that may be of use to the security provider that you call as well.

Hopefully, the security panel will not be “proprietary”, which of course means that it can only be serviced by the security company who installed it.  With some of the national companies that provide security services, this is sometimes the case.

In fact, when you contact new providers, you may want to make sure you ultimately choose a security integrator who uses “non-proprietary” equipment.  This way, if you want to change providers at any time, the next company will be able to take over the equipment with no problem, the switch of service will be seamless and you won’t have to buy all new equipment.

If the panel cannot be serviced by the companies you’ve contacted, and you don’t want to use the provider that installed that panel, than you may need to have a new panel and keypad installed at the least.

Sometimes the window and door sensors, as well as the motion detectors for instance can still be serviced by the new company, even if the panel and keypad can’t.

Of course, this information is general in scope—it is not absolute.  You may find a company who can take over a proprietary panel, but is it not altogether common.

When you do contact new security companies with the information about your panel, besides asking them if the equipment that they install is non-proprietary, there are some other questions you can ask.

Make sure that they do not use sub-contractors to do installation or future service work.  You do not want a third party company who is not an expert on your equipment to service it.  You want technicians hired and trained by the company you originally retained.

Also make sure you are not being made to commit to a long-term contract, such as three years, for your monitoring.  And speaking of monitoring, compare rates when you call around.  You don’t always have to choose the absolute lowest, but make sure you aren’t being stuck with an extremely high monthly rate relative to the others.

And also regarding monitoring, make sure that the company uses a U.L.-listed central station and that it has a redundant back up location.

Will you own or lease the equipment?  Some security companies charge you very little for equipment or basically give it away, but you do not own it.  They technically could take it back at the end of the contract because it is often leased from them.  It is good to find an integrator who allows you to outright buy the equipment and sells you a non-proprietary system that can be taken over by others if you switch providers.

Ask them about their company.  How long have they been in business?  Are they a member of any security or fire associations or the chamber of commerce?  Do they have a main office where you can visit and meet with advisors, or do they just work out of a home office and the back of their truck?

In summary, the biggest wildcard in this situation is the security panel and if it can be serviced by the companies that you talk to.  If not, new equipment will need to be installed.

But this is often worth it.  Because the new equipment is yours since you own it outright and you have more freedom with it down the road.

So if you did just move into a new home (new to you at least), good luck and congratulations.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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It is easy to consider the laundry list of items that burglars seek when breaking into houses.  They sort of fall into three main categories, but the third one isn’t always thought of when protecting against burglary.

The aforementioned categories that burglars seek to pilfer from can be broken down into:  monetary/replaceable, sentimental/heirlooms/irreplaceable, and your identity.

The last one listed, your identity, isn’t always on the forefront of people’s minds when preparing for break-ins.

And the overall result if you suffer a loss from any and all of these categories is the feeling of being violated—that emotional toll that it takes on you. 

Since the point of this blog post is to highlight the fact that identity theft is on the line upon any break-in, or as you’ll read in a second, even during times when a burglary is not committed, we’ll start with identity theft.

Simple measures can be taken to guard against a thief stealing your identity.  The first doesn’t even occur inside your house.

It is so easy for anyone to take mail out of a mailbox on the street if it doesn’t have a lock.  All it takes is one bank statement and they’re off on their way.  Invest in a mailbox with a lock and a slot for the postal carrier to insert the mail.

Lock up your documents.  In terms of inside the house, keep your financial and other information with personal records inside drawers with locks on them.  Of course a burglar could compromise the lock, but if they don’t see them and can’t get to them easily, they’re not as likely to seek them out and take them.  You could also lock them inside safes, of course.

Go paperless.  Most financial institutions offer the opportunity for you to stop receiving paper statements and instead have your statements accessible online.  This drastically cuts down on the amount of documents floating around with your personal information on them.

Buy a shredder.  You may opt not to go paperless or simply still have scores of documents laying around with social security numbers, account numbers, etc.  When you are done with them, don’t throw them out.  Shred them first.  Shredders are relatively inexpensive for the value they provide.

Getting back to our three main categories…another of the three categories that can be taken is the monetary and replaceable type.  This includes TV’s, non-family heirloom jewelry, gaming systems, etc. 

Because these are replaceable and on many people’s homeowner’s insurance policies, they may suffer less than when the other two categories are affected, although the emotional toll mentioned earlier still weighs heavily on people, no matter what is taken.

Your home has been broken into, invaded by a criminal, a strange person was in your personal space and he/she has taken your personal belongings.  This affects anyone.

The third category tends to be equal with identity theft in that it can’t have a value assigned to it in terms of dollars.  Many people will tell you that an antique family picture of past generations being smashed or a wedding ring of a great, great aunt being stolen is devastating—much like the trauma of having your identity stolen and the motions you have to go through to get things straightened out (sometimes it can take years).

So talk to a security professional, get a security system installed if you don’t have one, display your decals and yard signs and talk about ancillary components such as motion sensor lighting.  Bring up actions you can take such as keeping the shrubbery near you house low so as not to provide cover for thieves.

And please see the list of articles in our blog for the scores of other actions you can take to prevent any of the three categories detailed in this post from being affected.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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It’s that time of year.  We’re losing daylight like it’s going out of style.  This is affording more and more time for thieves to do their dirty work—especially when you’re away from home for any length of time.

Pictured above is a set of motion dector flood lights mounted on siding.

Remember, as mentioned in previous blogs, leaving lights on continuously either inside or outside is a dead giveaway that you’re not home—thieves know this.  So besides having timer lights for the inside of your home, please install motion detector or motion sensor lighting for the exterior.

As Jaques said in Shakespeare’s As You Like it, “All the world’s a stage”…put any unwanted guests near your house on that stage—complete with bright lights!  And watch them scamper like rats.

So you’re convinced that motion detector lights are a good idea.  But did you ever wonder how they work?

There are two types of motion sensor lights, but one is much more common.  They are referred to as active and passive.  The lesser used of the two is the active type.  They work when a beam of energy of some sort is broken by a passing object or person.  When the return of energy is changed, they are triggered.

The more common type is the passive variety.  That is why you commonly see the term “PIR” in security—it stands for Passive InfraRed.  They detect infrared heat emitted from the human body. It doesn’t only pick up human motion, however.  If the sensors are set too low, it can detect small animals as well.

But it does not react to a human standing still.  The sensor is looking for a rapid change in infrared energy—not just the energy itself.  If it didn’t just pick up motion, the trigger would occur when things happened such as a patio cooling off when the sun goes down.

So whether you have a home security system or not (we hope you do), you can take these ancillary measures to help year-round, but especially when the days are much shorter and darkness provides more opportunity for thieves.

And whether you know every detail of how the motion detector lights work or not, be sure to have them installed now if you don’t already.  At the very least, your trick-or-treaters will appreciate it in a few weeks!

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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One of the times we feel most comfortable is in the middle of the night, asleep in our pajamas in the comfort of our own homes—or is that the time when we feel most vulnerable?

Home invaders take advantage of us when we’re in this state of slumber and at other times of weakness—such as when we first pull into our driveway in the dark and exit our vehicles, or when we answer the door for a stranger.

Here are 18 things you can do to either help prevent, or help during, a home invasion:

1. Install driveway annunciators.  Let them know that you mean business before they even get close to your house.  These devices can announce a prerecorded message when someone walks in proximity to them.  Often times, people place them at the end of their driveways or near their vehicles.

2. Install motion sensor lighting.  We just can’t blog about this enough.  But when it comes to keeping home invaders out, it’s a great tool.

3. Keep the bushes cut low in proximity to your house.  Don’t give them any help in their endeavors to hide.  It’s fine to have decorative shrubbery, just be sure to keep it trimmed.

4. Install noticeable security cameras.  This can be a great deterrent, although some will say that cameras may indicate that you have things of value inside to come after.

5. Prominently display your security company’s stickers and signs.  This goes without saying.  Let them know what they’re about to walk into.  This is just another step of many in making other houses around you that may not have security systems more enticing to home invaders.

6. Fortify your doors.  Have solid core doors and heavy-duty deadbolts with at least a 1-inch throw (the bolt that comes out of the lock).  Add locks at the top and bottom of the patio slider door and add screws into the track above the sliding door frame to prevent it from being compromised.  Consult a locksmith about these issues.  And of course a piece of wood or a rod in the floor track to prevent the door from being opened if the lock is destroyed is a good idea.  There is usually not a sure-fire way to completely keep a home invader from getting in through a slider, but if you can make it very difficult, he may give up or it may allow you enough time to realize what’s going on and call 911. 

7. Keep your shades shut beginning at dusk.   Burglars and home invaders can take inventory of electronics that are turned on at this time which may make it worth it for them to enter.

8. Don’t answer the door.  You are not obligated to answer your door.  This may seem like a harsh step to some, but you can talk to the visitor from a second floor window if you’d like.  Or have a peep hole installed and talk through the door.

9. Don’t spend any extra time when you get out of your vehicle.  As referred to in the open, you are vulnerable when you exit your vehicle, in the dark especially, after you’ve pulled into your driveway.  Be aware.  Move quickly.  If you use mace, or a whistle, have it ready.

10. Try not to advertise too ostentatiously.  If you choose to wear a great deal of jewelry when you’re out and drive expensive cars, that’s ok, just know that it’s possible you could be followed home.

11. Keep a wireless transmitter or “panic” button next to your bed.  Have your security company add a wireless transmitter, or fob, that allows you to arm and disarm you system remotely.  But these can also have a button which transmits directly to the police—a “panic” button.  Just be sure to keep it away from children and to not hit it by mistake.

12. Know the panic code on your keypad.  Most security keypads will have a short code to type in that transmits directly to the police in case you can’t get to your phone quickly enough.  Having a second keypad, usually on a second floor, is ideal.

13. Of course, lock everything. And don’t forget the garage, bulkhead, and cellar windows.

14. Have a family plan.  Know exactly what room to meet in (create a “safe” room with a cell phone in it and a fortified door), or the quickest doors to exit from, as well as where to meet outside.  Know where your cell phones are, where any weapons are kept and other essentials.

15. Remember the ambush code on your keypad.  If you are taken hostage outside of your home, after you’ve gotten out of your vehicle for instance, and you are brought to your keypad to disarm your system against your will, know your ambush code.  It will look like you’re entering a PIN to disarm, but you’re actually sending a panic code directly to the police.

16. A dog or two is never a bad idea.  The louder the better.  This goes without saying.

17. Keep some “non-traditional” security items near your bed.  A strobe light will both startle an intruder and cause neighbors to give a second look.  An air horn will also alert neighbors and may cause an invader to jump back a bit.  And if you have a car alarm fob which you can make your car’s horn beep with, press that to make noise also. 

18. Have 911 set on speed dial of your phone and cell phone.  And, use speakerphone so the operator can hear what’s going on.  Keep it near your bed as well.

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It’s customary to change the batteries in your smoke and other detectors when you turn the clocks back, but what else could you do from a security standpoint at this annual fall marker?

The suggestions highlighted in the following list do not have to be acted upon only once per year, or for this time of year only—you can certainly do a test on your security system several times throughout the year if you’d like, for example.

Pictured above is a keypad that will communicate status such as low battery, etc.

But if you at least make it part of an annual routine at a set time of the year, along with the other tasks, you won’t let too much slip through the cracks.  And since many of these items are pertinent to this time of year, it makes sense to bundle everything together.

1.  Use timer lighting and motion sensor lights.  As we mentioned in our last blog, we are obviously losing daylight rapidly this time of year, and this affords thieves more time to do their dirty work.  So install motion sensor lights for the exterior of your house that will illuminate when anyone passes by.  Also, don’t leave lights on inside your house if you are away—this is a dead giveaway that you are not at home.  Instead, use timer lighting that will have lights going on and off and pre-determined intervals to make it appear as if someone’s home.  Talk to your security integrator about how to do this.

2.  Change your security code.  Often times an alarm system’s password is given out throughout the year to contractors, neighbors who may have moved, etc.  It’s never a bad idea to change it on a regular basis even though it requires you to break from a routine.

3.  Clear your devices of dust and debris.  Motion detectors and smoke detectors, for example, collect dust and debris such as spider webs.  These can affect their performance which can compromise your safety.  One way to do this is to use “canned air” and simply spray a quick pass or two past the device.

4.  Test your security system.  Put your alarm system on “test” with your monitoring company.  This will allow you to make sure all the devices are “talking” to the security panel and the panel is communicating properly.  After it is on test, simply arm your system, then open a door or window, walk by a motion detector, etc.

5.  Make sure all employee info is updated.  Administrators have a lot on their plates and sometimes forget to deactivate an employee’s access card.  Also alarm call lists change due to promotions and employees leaving the company.  Make sure you inform your monitoring company of these changes before an actual event happens.

6.  Review your emergency plans.  This is one that certainly doesn’t have to wait for once a year.  For homes and businesses, meet with everyone and make sure you have a fire exit strategy.  Also, have a plan for what to do in case an intruder enters or if the security alarm sounds.

7.  Be conscious of any ISP changes.  With all the competition these days, it is not uncommon for us to change internet service providers.  If you do, make sure to test your system as mentioned above.  Don’t wait for an event to happen and have it be too late.  You may even remain with the same ISP but have received updated equipment—you should also test in this case.

8.  Back up your database.  Although this isn’t directly related to security components, it does relate to computer security, so we did want to include it (and it is another that you don’t have to do only once per year of course).  And be sure to back it up onto an external database, not your existing system.

9.  Change or check batteries in panels.  For security panels, batteries aren’t the most dependable after a couple years.  They may last longer, but it’s not guaranteed.  You may want to change them.  At least your keypad will indicate a low battery signal if they become weak.  With access control panel batteries, there is no keypad to indicate the status, so be sure to have your security company check their level.

10.  Clear the lenses of your cameras.  Security camera lenses, like any other glass surface, become smudged, dirty, etc. over time.  Be sure to wipe them clean regularly.  If you were to ever need to identify a thief or vandal and the lens wasn’t up to par, you’d regret it.

11.  Reconsider your house key plans.  It is not recommended to leave your house key hidden outside your door—thieves can find it.  Please consider leaving it with a trusted neighbor or family member.  If you insist on leaving it outside, at least move its location regularly.

12.  Clear items from your security devices.  For example, boxes and other items collect in front of sensors such as water bugs on the floor of your basement over time.  You want them free to detect moisture and do their job, especially during wet seasons.

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Since there is typically one facility manager for an entire property, and since there is more of a focus on cost with the need to take on more and more duties of the facility, video surveillance becomes essential, not just a luxury.  Facility managers are often responsible for maintenance, security and so much more.

Proper video surveillance can ensure OSHA compliance and help you to conduct management, training and life safety exercises. 

You are also more able to monitor manufacturing and production processes, as well as monitor entrance and exits for anything from deliveries to disgruntled ex-employees.

Not only will you be able to reduce liability if slips and falls were to happen, with video surveillance in place you can prevent them altogether.  See the conditions that cause these incidents from one central place without having to be everywhere at once.

Keep an eye on inventory and reduce shrinkage by controlling employee theft and/or theft by visitors and customers.  In fact, just having the cameras in place acts as a deterrent.  And use recorded footage as evidence to prosecute when the time comes.  This is an opportunity to consider the clearer images that IP / Megapixel technology brings. 

Another area where this technology pays off is in the parking lot where accidents occur, vandalism happens and thefts can be a problem.

The good news is that nowadays, quality video surveillance doesn’t have to be expensive.  In fact, the aforementioned, clearer image-producing IP/Megapixel systems can have a low overall cost of ownership.

You will often need fewer units to cover the same area that you’d need if you used analog security cameras—lower labor costs can be the result of this.  And if you ultimately actually catch the perpetrator due to having better quality images, didn’t it all pay off?

But facility managers can gain much from analog security cameras as well.  You may be able to easily identify the individuals you’re monitoring, for instance, so high quality images may not be as necessary.  And the sticker price for similar specification analog cameras will typically be less expensive than IP/Megapixel security cameras.

Don’t forget to consider low-light and vandal-resistant cameras for your facility, especially for the exterior and especially when your facility is not manned 24-hours a day.

Another thing that is important to facility managers that we mentioned in a previous blog is the need for a wide dynamic range feature in cameras that are facing areas where there will be a contrast of bright and dark lighting.

The example we cited was a large garage with security cameras inside pointing at the loading dock doors.  When these doors open, bright light can cause bleaching in a regular security camera’s field of view.

If the camera has wide dynamic range, backlight compensation is provided to balance things out and silhouettes don’t become a problem.  You can better distinguish the actual objects in proximity of the loading dock door even with the bright light in the picture.

So if you are a facility manager who is taking on more responsibility yet burdened with keeping costs lower and lower, talk to your security integrator about the many options you have with video surveillance to help with your day-to-day tasks.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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