According to the 2019 report by the National Farmers Union (NFU), rural crime has risen substantially, costing the country a staggering £50 million in 2018, with the most common crimes committed being theft of farm vehicles and livestock.
What makes farms susceptible to such threats?
The main culprits here are the isolated locations and open boundaries that make farms such a lucrative spot for burglars and intruders.
In addition to burglaries, farms are at a huge risk of fires, with the cost of farm fires rising at a four-year high amounting to £46.4 million in 2018. These are astounding numbers and a real cause for concern.
Securing farms from theft and fires is incredibly important for the farm operations to run smoothly, ensuring that the product that comes out of them is safe and of the best quality, all the while protecting precious livestock, crops, and farm property and equipment from damage and misuse.
The best way to do this is by installing farm security systems and employing the best safety and security practices throughout the property.
Let’s look at the different types of security systems that can be employed and how to choose the best one for your farm.
FARM SECURITY SYSTEMS
Putting a stop to theft, vandalism, and fires on a farm can be challenging for several reasons, but they can be prevented and minimized.
How exactly can security systems help farm owners? Here are all the things farm owners can benefit from by installing the best and most effective security systems:
- Monitoring intruders trying to sneak into the property: Properly placed and good quality CCTV cameras, burglar alarms, and access control systems can help keep intruders at bay by restricting access to unauthorized areas of the farm. If someone does decide to sneak in, the systems will alert the owners for them to take the necessary action before the potential intruders can inflict harm.
- Protecting valuable assets and livestock: There are many valuable assets on a farm that need protection such as vegetation, livestock, and farm vehicles and equipment. They are susceptible to being stolen and burned down in the event of a fire. Security systems ensure that they remain protected and away from the wrong hands.
- Protecting water supplies: The water source on a farm is a highly sensitive area that runs all the agricultural processes on the land and needs constant monitoring to ensure it is not infected by rodents or other pests.
- Monitoring daily operations: It’s difficult to keep a check on all parts of a farm to ensure everything is running smoothly and the farmworkers are at their best behaviour. Security systems such as CCTV surveillance help monitor daily activities around the area, ensuring that operations are carried out as they should be, while access control systems help track their movement in and out of the property.
- Ensuring legal compliance: Security systems not just provide safety but also help the owners be compliant with the law. Farm owners have a certain responsibility towards their workers and keeping them and the assets secure from threats is the best practice and encouraged by the law.
CCTV SECURITY SYSTEMS
It is very important to install a reliable security system on your farm and using CCTV cameras to deal with the rising rural crime rate is one of the most effective security measures you can take.
CCTV surveillance systems have gained immense popularity over the years, with over 25 million CCTV cameras in operation worldwide, out of which 4 million are in the UK. They have proven their worth by being one of the best deterrents for burglars, making up an integral part of farm security.
The recording and monitoring aspect of CCTV surveillance compels people to keep a check on their behaviour, owing to the fear of getting caught, which is highly likely if there is CCTV monitoring in the area.
Farms are generally spread over acres of land and keeping an eye on every single area can be quite challenging for the owners. Having CCTV surveillance cameras installed throughout the property can help monitor even remote areas of the farm and catch the perpetrators before they try to cause any damage.
CHOOSING THE BEST CCTV FOR YOUR FARM
For your farm CCTV security system to be effective, you need to keep a few things in mind before choosing the best one:
- The cameras must be placed in all areas of the farm where you think surveillance would be required. To do that, you must run a risk assessment to identify all possible threats and ways to tackle them. Typical places include entrances and exits, main supply areas, and barns and other buildings on the premises.
- All cameras need to have a good resolution to ensure they capture clear footage. The area and subjects that the farm owners wish to monitor mainly determine the kind of resolution that would work. The bottom line is that the recordings must be clear enough to identify faces and license plates of suspicious cars.
- Since most of the CCTV cameras would be placed outdoors on a farm, it is crucial that they are built for the purpose and can withstand the weather and temperature outside. The best outdoor cameras are ones that are weather and water-resistant, along with being tamper-proof.
- Scalability is a key determining factor of which type of CCTV camera system you choose. A good idea is to preplan and make the final decision according to how scalable and flexible you want your farm CCTV system to be.
- Certain features can be very beneficial for farm CCTV cameras such as remote monitoring, night vision and anti-glare. Remote monitoring helps keep an eye on all areas of the farm from a single, remote location, such as the owners’ house. Night vision and anti-glare help get clear footage at all times, ensuring that the dark or extreme sunlight doesn’t damper the video outcome.
- Farms are generally in secluded areas where power and internet are limited. For that purpose, wire-free CCTV cameras, that work on removable and rechargeable batteries work best for such locations.
BURGLAR ALARM SYSTEMS
To beef up the effectiveness of your farm security system, it is a great idea to install burglar alarms, preferably ones with motion sensors.
Placed at key points throughout the property, these sensors will pick up any unusual movement and trigger an alarm alerting the farm owners and possibly scaring away the intruders. In some cases, they can also be set up to notify the police.
Another important thing to note here is that intruders do not necessarily imply humans. They can be predators trying to attack your valuable livestock. Placing motion detector alarms near the farm animals will alert you as soon as any suspicious being tries to enter the area, be it human or unwanted animals.
During the day when workers are doing their jobs around the farm, the sensors can be turned off so that they don’t unnecessarily get triggered and cause panic for no reason.
CHOOSING THE BEST BURGLAR ALARM FOR YOUR FARM
There are a lot of options available for great burglar alarms and choosing the best one can be quite a challenge. Here are a few things you must consider before making the decision:
- As is with any security system, you must first assess the security risks by conducting a thorough risk assessment of the property. This will help you determine your exact needs and requirements, making the decision-making process easier.
- Determine the type of burglar alarm you need. There are bells-only systems, dialler alarms, and monitoring services available 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. Motion sensors are used to detect movement and are very handy when the requirement is to detect unusual activity on the farm. Other sensors include infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, magnetic, photoelectric, and glass- break detectors.
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS
Most of the threats faced by farm owners are due to easy access for intruders and burglars into the property.
Allowing only certain people in while denying access to all unauthorized people must be the number one priority to ensure the farm remains safe from potential harm.
Access control systems are a keyless door entry system operated via intercom, proximity fob/card, keypad, or even a biometric system that, in addition to providing authorized access, also help establish access permissions for different areas of the premises. The identity of the user is authenticated via credentials entered into the system, which are checked against a database saved in the access server.
They not only restrict access but also track the access activities of workers and visitors, helping keep management issues at bay, giving the farm owners more control over their activity such as when they enter and leave certain areas of the farm.
CHOOSING THE BEST ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM FOR YOUR FARM
Selecting the right access control system is fundamental for farm security. There are a lot of factors to consider when making a decision. Here are a few basic things to keep in mind before choosing one for your farm:
- Identifying the areas that must have an access control system in place is necessary since that would determine the size and complexity of the system. A risk assessment of the farm would be a good place to start since some areas must be high-risk than others and would require added security in the form of probably two-factor authentication.
- As discussed above, there are several authentication methods including access cards, fobs, keypads, biometrics, and mobile access control. Deciding which one is suitable for your farm depends on the level of security you require, as well as the size of the farm and the number of workers.
- Access control systems come with a range of functions such as access reporting, real-time notifications, and remote monitoring via computer or mobile. You must select the features your farm requires and have a custom-made solution for your property. The systems can also be integrated with other security systems such as burglar alarms, CCTV systems, and fire alarms, that provide a more comprehensive security solution.
- When choosing an access control system, it is best to think about future growth for the next 5-10 years. An increase in the size of the farm and the number of workers would require the system to be flexible and scalable enough to accommodate this growth.
Farm fires pose a serious threat to farm security, with the Fire and Rescue Services attending 17,755 fires in agricultural buildings such as barns in the past year.
The most common cause for these fires is electrical faults such as short circuits or ground faults. Other causes include design flaws that don’t take into account proper ventilation, misuse of ignition material, and lightning.
Smoke, along with fire, is also a major hazard in the event of a fire causing animal and human deaths on the farm.
The only way to combat this issue is by adopting fire safety practices and installing fire detection systems throughout the premises for early detection of any such threats.
Having a fire alarm security system is an excellent idea to keep yourself and your farm safe. The system gives an early warning of the threat and allows enough time to evacuate the farm and call the authorities before the fire gets out of control.
CHOOSING THE BEST FIRE ALARM FOR YOUR FARM
Like all other security systems, when choosing the best fire alarm for your farm, these few important factors need to be kept in mind:
- Fire safety legislation applies to all farm buildings where people work, and you are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment of your farm buildings and record the findings.
- Fire safety is the farm owner’s responsibility and the inability to abide by the laws could mean the people in question being legally prosecuted.
- There are three main types of fire alarms; conventional, addressable, and wireless fire alarms. The law doesn’t specify exactly which type of fire alarm system should be used for farms. It all comes down to what works for and is appropriate, as per the requirement.
- Is there a need for two-way communication? This ensures that people inside the farm building can communicate with whoever is monitoring the system. This may be appropriate in particularly dangerous situations.
- Special requirements such as very early warning smoke detectors or VESDAs can be used to detect fires even before they properly start. They are especially beneficial in places like farms where fires can spread uncontrollably if not restrained at the right time.
GENERAL FARM SECURITY TIPS
In addition to installing the aforementioned farm security systems, there are other basic steps that you can take to keep your property safe from potential harm. Here are a few farm safety tips to follow:
- Ensure that all the doors and windows of the buildings inside the farm are locked using anti-snap locks at all times.
- Install fences and gates around the perimeter of the farm and make sure they are properly maintained and kept in good condition.
- Keep all valuables such as farm vehicles and equipment locked away in barns, if possible.
- Vaults and safes can be used to store smaller valuable items.
- Put up signs informing people that the farm is under surveillance.
- Do not allow smoking on the farm premises since it can cause instant fires to spread.
- Regularly check and maintain all electrical wiring to ensure none of it is faulty.
- All equipment must be used with utmost precision and care.
- Take a regular count of your livestock to ensure they haven’t been stolen.
- Report any suspicious activity to the police right away.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
We offer installation of all the systems, along with monitoring, maintenance, and repair services.
We have been working in the security industry for over 40 years and can help you choose the best security for your farm, ensuring you, your farm, and everything on it remains safe and protected, round-the-clock! Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799.