In recent, and utterly shocking news, a charity warehouse in Huddersfield that sends Lego toys to children in hospitals was made a target for burglary, where the perpetrators stole toys worth up to £400,000.
It is safe to say that such criminals can stoop to any level to get what they want, which is all the more reason to take warehouse security more seriously.
Warehouses all over the world are a lucrative target for burglars since most companies such as importers, exporters, manufacturers, wholesalers, customs, etc, depend on them to store valuable stock, usually amounting to a very high-value.
Warehouse owners and managers face a variety of threats, especially in the form of intrusions into the premises to cause damage or harm.
With so many workers running here and there, heavy machinery being used back and forth, and daily turnover of shipments, warehouse security can be a bit of a challenge.
Burglar alarms are one of the four pillars of warehouse security working as an effective deterrent against burglars and intruders, along with being a basic physical security requirement for all sorts of residential and commercial properties, including warehouses.
Read on to find out how to choose the best burglar alarm system for a warehouse and why they are so important for warehouse security.
BURGLAR ALARMS FOR WAREHOUSES
Burglar alarms for warehouses work to serve two basic purposes; alerting the people inside of an intrusion and scaring away potential intruders.
They work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any suspicious activity, notifying the people in charge to take the necessary action.
The main components of a burglar alarm include:
- The control panel – which controls the burglar alarm system and is integrated with all the other components to sound an alarm when an intrusion is detected.
- Sensors – that are devices used to detect intrusions and sound an alarm to alert the owners.
- Keypad – the main interface where the user can arm or disarm the alarm.
- Sounder – the loud sound that the alarm makes when the sensor picks up something suspicious.
- Batteries – the system either rely solely on them or as a back-up power supply.
TYPES OF BURGLAR ALARMS
There are several types of burglar alarms available for warehouse security, with the primary difference being the level of alertness each of them offers.
The type you choose for your warehouse depends on the requirements and the level of protection you’re looking for.
- Bells-only burglar alarm
The bells-only burglar alarm makes use of sounds, and sometimes flashing lights, to activate the sensor, and rely on the warehouse owners, managers, workers, and people nearby to take action as soon as the alarm is triggered.
They require someone to be constantly present at the warehouse to keep a check on when and if the alarm is triggered, which is unlikely at certain times such as during the night unless there is a security guard present, which can be kind of heavy on the pocket and not very reliable.
Also, warehouses are generally situated in isolated areas, which is why the bells-only burglar alarm might not be the best choice since there is a high chance of the alarm going unnoticed.
- Dialler burglar alarm
The dialler burglar alarm works exactly like the bells-only alarm with the additional feature of the warehouse owners or the nominated keyholders being contacted in the event of an alarm trigger.
The systems are linked to the phone line or GSM mobile network, and allow up to three to ten numbers to be saved to be contacted in such emergencies. It contacts the people according to the level of priority they are saved with and stops as soon as someone responds.
This is a better option for warehouses than a bells-only burglar alarm, but it still doesn’t provide a fool-proof plan. The people contacted might be unavailable or weak mobile signals might affect the system’s performance in case of GSM connectivity.
- Monitored burglar alarms
In addition to sounding an alarm as soon as the sensors pick up any unusual activity, monitored burglar alarms alert a professional monitoring centre, also known as the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), which is manned by experts who notify the warehouse owners, nominated keyholders, or the police.
Using secure alarm-signalling services such as DualCom and BT RedCare that operate via phone line and GSM ensuring that the ARC is always notified of a break-in, professional burglar alarm monitoring guarantees that the alarm never goes unnoticed and that action is always taken.
This is a great choice and is particularly effective when the warehouse is uninhabited, such as during the night, offering great peace of mind to the warehouse owners, managers, and workers alike.
- Smart burglar alarms
Similar to monitored systems, smart burglar alarms alert someone in case of a break-in but are usually integrated with your phone and other smart devices such as CCTV cameras and lights, and are managed via an app with notifications sent to your phone.
For instance, when the alarm is triggered, the smart lights in the warehouse turn on to scare away any intruders. This integration with other security measures makes the smart burglar alarm a great choice for warehouses, ensuring comprehensive safety and security in all areas of the property.
The various types of burglar alarms mentioned above are also available in wired and wireless versions.
- Wired burglar alarms
Wired burglar alarm systems, as the name suggests, use wires to connect to the sensors. These burglar alarms take longer to install since there is more work involved and the cables and wires need to be properly set up. They generally have a higher installation cost due to the intensive labour work involved. However, they are cheaper to maintain due to less reliance on batteries. In conclusion, wired burglar alarms have a higher initial cost, but are easier to maintain.
- Wireless burglar alarms
As opposed to their wired counterpart, wireless burglar alarm systems use Wi-Fi or radio frequency to connect to the sensors. They are easier to install due to the absence of cables and wires, which results in low labour costs, and therefore, low installation costs.
However, their maintenance cost is relatively higher because of batteries needing to be replaced every couple of years. Another thing to consider when installing a wireless burglar alarm system is that they are not suited for areas that experience too much electrical interference. A weakened or interrupted signal can cause the wireless components to work improperly. In conclusion, wireless burglar alarms have a lower initial cost but are relatively costlier to maintain.
Due to the high-value inventory that warehouses store and the risks attached to it, you must choose the best burglar alarm system that guarantees protection from theft and vandalism.
It is advised to choose a burglar alarm that offers monitoring services, preferably by a professional monitoring centre so that someone who is trained to deal with such situations is always there to keep an eye on the warehouse and alert the relevant people and authorities to take the necessary action.
Warehouses are constructed in such a way that makes the installation of certain systems a bit of a challenge. The high ceilings make wiring difficult, and the concrete interferes with the radio and Wi-Fi signals, putting the system in a vulnerable state. For reliable security, it is best to have the system hardwired, which might take longer and be a little expensive, but it is still better than the connection breaking off with wireless burglar alarms.
If you are unsure about the best type of burglar alarm for your warehouse, you can call a professional security service to assess your property and determine your exact requirements.
We, at Calder Security, would be happy to help with our vast knowledge and experience of over 40 years. Call us right away for a quick consultation.
CHOOSING THE BEST WAREHOUSE BURGLAR ALARM
As mentioned above, there are quite a few options available for great burglar alarms for warehouse security and choosing the best one can be a little confusing if you are uninformed.
Here are a few things to consider before making a decision:
- The first step is to assess the security risks by conducting a thorough risk assessment of the warehouse to identify vulnerabilities and hazards, along with evaluating the effectiveness of current security measures. This will help determine the exact needs and requirements, making the decision-making process easier.
- Determine the type of burglar alarm required. There are bells-only systems, dialler alarms, and monitoring services to choose from. Remote monitoring is the recommended way to go since it guarantees a response from the relevant authorities.
- Burglar alarms come equipped with different kinds of sensors and choosing the right kind is key to their efficiency. Motion sensors are used to detect movement and are very handy when the requirement is to detect unusual activity in the warehouse. Other sensors include infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, magnetic, photoelectric, and glass-break detectors.
- The main features that warehouse owners should look out for in a burglar alarm are remote monitoring and notification, perimeter protection, and glass-break detection.
- Perimeter protection is an integral part of warehouse security, especially if the property is spread over a large area. The bigger the warehouse, the more susceptible it is to break-ins through various entry points.
- Glass-break detectors are used to detect if and when a glass is broken. It works by using a microphone that keeps a check on the noise and vibrations coming from the glass, and if the vibrations exceed a certain limit, the alarm is triggered. This is a very handy feature for warehouse security, especially large ones with ground-level windows.
BURGLAR ALARM BEST PRACTICES
Deciding to invest in a burglar alarm and choosing the best one for your warehouse will not guarantee safety and security. Certain best practices must be adopted to ensure the system runs smoothly and effectively. After all, the security of a warehouse is only as good as the security systems in it, and how well they are installed and operated.
Here’s how you can make the most of your burglar alarm system:
- Professional installation
The quality of the burglar alarm and the expertise with which it is installed are two crucial factors for the systems overall health. Having a professional service install your system can significantly reduce the risk of faults and issues since they are experts in the field and know what they are doing.
- Placement and positioning
The placement of the alarm and its sensors is the most crucial aspect of a burglar alarm installation, ensuring all the at-risk areas are covered. All doors and windows of the warehouse, including the ones rarely used, must be equipped with sensors to detect any unusual activity.
Also, objects that might act as obstructions to the sensors must be kept away such as moving objects, fans, and curtains. Another potential obstruction is water seepage on the wall where the burglar alarm is placed.
The control panel and keypad are what operates the burglar alarm, and it is very important to place them away from a burglar’s line of sight. Easy access to the two might allow potential intruders to see whether the system is armed or not, in addition to helping them disable the system quicker.
- Arming and disarming
One of the most common mistakes that warehouse owners make is arming the burglar alarm only when the warehouse is closed or when it is empty during the night.
Burglar alarms come equipped with two modes; away and stay. The away mode is the general armed mode where all the sensors and perimeter protection are enabled. The stay mode activates the perimeter protection, disabling the interior motion detectors so that the warehouse workers can move around freely without triggering the alarm.
- Regular maintenance
Everything requires maintenance and upkeep, even humans. An electrical system such as a burglar alarm does too. An annual service will check that all is working as it should, change any batteries reaching the end of their lives, and detect any potential issues before they become a problem.
It is necessary for the health of your burglar alarm system to clean it regularly and to make sure it is kept safe from extreme heat and moisture that may cause it to rust.
For a thorough clean-up, it is advised to call professional maintenance services instead of opening and taking the system apart yourself.
- Backup batteries
Burglar alarms that are solely dependent on the mains power supply are susceptible to shutting down in case of a power outage, or if the system is using a battery, in case the battery dies. This can leave the entire security of the warehouse in a vulnerable state. There must always be a backup power source, preferably in the form of additional batteries or a power generator.
- Proper training
Understanding how the system works is crucial in knowing how to operate it. A lot of people are unable to identify basic faults and how to deal with them. Training the warehouse workers on how to use the system, such as how to set/unset the alarm is a part of the professional installation process and ensures there are no false alarms to unnecessarily cause disruptions.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
We are professionals working in the security industry for over 40 years and have extensive knowledge about all kinds of systems and our experts can also recommend the best system suited for your warehouse security needs.
Here’s why you should choose Calder Security for your warehouse burglar alarm needs:
- We offer professional installation, maintenance, monitoring, and repair services for all kinds of burglar alarms, along with professional keyholding services.
- We are SSAIB approved installers and all of our burglar alarm installations are carried out by qualified, experienced engineers that comply with standards: PD6662: 2010, DD243 and BS8243, required to qualify for police assistance.
- Our systems meet the stringent requirements of BS4737 and European Standard EN50131 (Intruder Alarm Systems in Buildings).
- We have both wired and wireless systems and can also advise you on which is the best choice for your warehouse.
- Our expert installers guide and train users before leaving the site, making sure they are comfortable with the system and understand how it works.
- We offer a 24-hour emergency call-out and can help you when your alarm goes off at 3 am if needed, and we can also talk you through fault fixes over the phone.
Calder Security is Yorkshire’s leading independent security company and we promise you the best services to keep you, your warehouse, and its workers and inventory safe. Contact us here for a quick consultation or call us on 0800 612 9799.