Expert security advice for business owners
Here we offer some useful tips and information to help you keep yourself and your public facing employees safe and secure at work.
How to protect your public facing employees
Wherever your staff come into contact with the public in the course of their work, there is always a risk of attack. It is your responsibility to make sure they are protected. Here are three ideas that will help.
Real time GPS panic alarms. These can be clipped onto a belt and will communicate over 2G or 3G to track the location of the staff member in real time. They can monitor the safety of individual staff members and raise the alarm in the event of an emergency.
CCTV in the workplace. This can be effective when used in conjunction with on-site security guards who are trained in conflict resolution. CCTV is an effective deterrent against crime and will also provide valuable evidence should an assault take place.
Access Control. From card access systems to automatic electric gates, two-way audible/ video systems or multi-point wired or wireless intercom systems – access control allows easy access for multiple authorised persons with keyless entry, reducing risk of theft and damage and increasing personal safety for you and your staff.
Bodyworn CCTV cameras. A very visible deterrent, bodyworn cameras give the wearer a confidence-breeding level of protection and the relatively high cost of the equipment is nothing compared to the costs arising from a violent assault.
Ask us about panic alarms and how they can work with your existing alarm and CCTV systems.
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Wired v wireless alarms for business
If you’re looking for a intruder alarm for your business, one of the first choices you’ll have to make is whether to go for a wired or a wireless system. Below we lay out all the facts to help you make the right decision.
While the parts for a wireless system are more expensive, the installation time required is a lot less than for a wired system (typically half). As a result, we can now instal a wireless alarm for less than the cost of a wired one in most smaller premises. However, if your workplace has cable trays or suspended ceilings then the cabling/labour element of the installation cost will fall and the balance may swing in favour of wired.
Wireless systems run on batteries, which we recommend changing every two years. These have a cost over and above the price of maintenance and the price of the panel battery used as a power back up for both wired and wireless systems. How much more depends on the number of detection devices on your system but it is not normally a large number and it is only every other year. Replacement parts are more expensive for a wireless system than for a wired one; however, all our parts come with a one year guarantee.
Wireless alarms used to be notorious for false activations. However, after more than 10 years of research and development they have more than caught up with their wired counterparts. In most people’s opinion both systems are as reliable as each other.
Disruption and Aesthetics
This is a clear winner for the wireless system. No wiring means a far tidier installation. No ugly cables have to be fitted around doorways or hidden in plastic trunking and there is no need to drill holes through walls. It also means a much shorter installation time (for wireless systems we are in and out in under a day) so less disruption for the customer. These concerns are more geared towards domestic customers, however. If you can plan your alarm installation to take place during fit out, we can keep labour time and disruption to a minimum.
Extensions to a wireless alarm system are simple. We can instal new detectors, programme them into the system and it’s done. Wired systems are more complex, disruptive and time-consuming. With a wireless system, detectors can be located in the optimum positions, whereas wired systems are often restricted by cabling issues. Again, with large commercial premises this is less of an issue.
Given that both systems are equally reliable, we advise the majority of our domestic and small business customers to instal wireless alarm systems. However, for larger commercial premises, the running costs and scalability of wired systems usually get our vote, especially if we can instal the system during fit out.
Ask Spy Alarms about wired and wireless systems for your business.
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Have you installed emergency lighting?
Emergency lighting falls under two headings, escape route lighting and open area lighting (otherwise known as anti-panic lighting), and is governed by BS5266. The overall objective of emergency lighting is to permit safe escape from a building or other location in the event of the mains lighting going down.
The objective of escape route lighting is to provide for a means of escape from a location or building by providing suitable visual conditions and enabling appropriate signage to be seen, and also to enable a means of finding fire-fighting equipment and any other safety equipment.
Open area lighting is intended to reduce the likelihood of panic and enable occupants to find an escape route and easily read direction signs. This should also be remembered in the case of small areas such as lifts.
Who should have emergency lighting?
Emergency lighting is part of fire safety law and should automatically form part of any fire risk assessment. Emergency lighting should be installed if anybody pays you to stay in your property, other than as a permanent home. So this would include B&Bs, guest houses, hotels, farmhouses, restaurants with bedrooms and inns. It also applies to self-catering accommodation, including cottages, houses, chalets, flats and even caravans. Hostels are also included under the legislation. Escape route information should be provided along with any other information given to guests.
When is emergency lighting not required?
Emergency lighting may not be required in situations such as a small office of half a dozen people with easy access to a fire escape, or perhaps a small farm building with a few occupants who can move outside easily. You may also not need emergency lighting if you have “borrowed” lighting – for example, street lights outside the building throwing light through the windows. However, be aware that if there is a general power failure the street lighting may go out as well.
Emergency exit signs may not be needed in small premises where the method of escape is obvious, such as a small house or cottage. However, larger premises will require signage and, as a consequence, escape route lighting in order that the signs are visible.
Emergency lighting must switch on automatically when the mains power fails. However, in small premises, such as guest houses, it may be sufficient to provide rechargeable torches. These plug in to a power outlet and switch on in the event of a power outage. A sign should be provided explaining what the torch is for and how it works.
In larger premises more sophisticated systems will be required, but the exact type of emergency lighting requirement can only be decided through a full fire risk assessment. Where relatively small premises are concerned and something like automatic torches used, they should be checked from time to time in order to assess for how long they maintain their charge. In large premises such as hotels and public buildings, it may be necessary to employ a stand-by generator, which kicks in as soon as the power goes down.
Installing emergency lighting
Whether or not emergency lighting is a legal requirement, it is always worth considering, since anything that contributes to overall safety is to be welcomed. We can carry out a free site surveyor to assess your requirement for emergency lighting.
Don’t delay when it comes to fire.
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