It is not business a usual for any of us, but we must keep #workingtogether
Critical frontline staff all over the country have risen to the challenges the COVID -19 pandemic has created, as have businesses across the UK as they navigate these uncertain times. We can say with certainty that it is not business as usual for any of us, but we are all in this together and that makes us so much stronger if we are #workingtogether in #crimeprevention.
Never before has business security been so vital, as hundreds of thousands of business premises, educational facilities and entire commercial areas stand empty as a result of the lock-down we all find ourselves in. As a leading remote monitoring station, we handle remote security monitoring services spanning CCTV, Intruder & Fire and Lone Worker systems that are crucial in protecting the security of businesses – their people, premises and assets.
Our critical workers have risen to the challenge – to protect businesses, people & assets
We take what we do very seriously and are so proud of our very own frontline critical workers, our remote security operators, who are working so hard to ensure that Farsight lives up to its mantra of being ‘committed to vigilance’ as we continue to protect thousands of businesses across the UK. In fact, over the past week our team have responded to 87% of alarms in under 90 seconds, way above our accreditation requirements and in the face of many thousands of additional alarms being activated during the current emergency.
We are a 24/7 monitoring station, however, for many of our existing clients our services are traditionally contracted for after business hours monitoring. Over the past few weeks, the lockdown of many businesses has resulted in a sharp spike in requests for additional hours to be monitoring as well – daytime hours, which means significant resources and contingency planning have been an essential part of our arsenal.
An important factor that Farsight must also consider during this emergency is our ability and moral obligation to support the emergency services in maintaining civil order and public health & safety during this emergency. This includes monitoring and alerting authorities to gatherings of large groups of people, civil unrest or even looting or rioting if this should become necessary.
We also are mindful of our day to day obligation to support other critical workers that we work closely with who provide essential emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance services.
To enable us to do this, as well as to support us as we continue to rise to the challenge of protecting the security of businesses for additional periods, we need their help so we can marshal our resources and weather the storm – together, to stop incidents like this progressing any further:
So how can you, our clients, help?
The sheer volume of premises we are now required to monitor across our 24/7 working shifts, as well as higher alarms and incident rates, means that false alarms are our enemy. False alarms take up valuable time to investigate, potentially while a genuine incident could be happening somewhere else.
1. Notify your remote monitoring station when your staff is planning to be on site
The main cause for false alarms over the past week, have been staff appearing on sites unannounced – people dropping off or collecting things, receiving deliveries etc. which of course may be necessary. However, if your remote monitoring operators are not notified, they will assume the incident could be a potential security threat and investigate further. In some instances, where intentions are not clear, emergency services could be called which would also be wasting the time of critical workers, even potentially resulting in refusal to attend for persistent false alarms from that particular site.
2. Keep open lines of communication with your security monitoring station / installer
Communication is vital to maximising business security. Whether communicating via your security installer or directly with our operations team at Farsight, we have procedures in place for our clients to request additional periods of remote monitoring for their security and peace of mind.
We aim to accommodate the additional requests from all of our clients, however, this demands resources and planning so that we can continue to deliver the high levels of service that we are known for and are expected by our clients.
Of course, this can only happen if we all practice #working together and #thinkofothers. It is often the small things like keeping lines of communication open, maintaining business sites externally and notifying us when staff will be on site – that make the big differences in the number sites and businesses that we can keep safe.
3. Site Maintenance is critical
There are other actions that can reduce false alarms too. For example, as we come into the Spring period, growth from shrubs, foliage and trees can obscure access points, perimeter fences and range of vision for CCTV cameras. It is important to be vigilant in the maintenance of sites to ensure that remote monitoring operators have visibility, but also to reduce false alarms caused by wind or other environmental issues. Here is an example of how a simple spider web can obscure an operator’s visibility of a site:
Loose items such as empty boxes, packaging, plastic sheets or even promotional banners or flags can also be responsible for triggering alarms. These should be stowed away during periods of absence from business premises. Where possible clearing equipment and even vehicles off visible external areas by moving them indoors will allow our remote CCTV operators better visibility of sites, will offer less hiding places to conceal intruders and may reduce the temptation to break in the first place.
4. Ensure security equipment is working efficiently
Working closely with your security equipment installer to maintain your business security hardware will ensure you are protected, and your equipment is doing what it should. Fire & Intruder alarm systems, CCTV cameras, fittings & fixtures, Passive Infra-Red (PIR) detectors, audio equipment and external lighting systems should all work together to make sure your remote monitoring station can monitor and respond to event activated incidents efficiently.
External lighting should be checked to ensure this provides the necessary illumination of your premises for CCTV footage to be efficient. Below is an example of a poorly lit site. An intruder can be seen at the top left corner against a glimmer of light, but blink and the intruder will be hidden on the site.
Read more about the importance of adequate lighting in our blog article: Why security lighting makes all the difference
5. Ensure Keyholders can be reached
It is really important to ensure that keyholder responsibilities are assigned to staff, although with many business staff working remotely away from their business premises or staff on furlough etc. during this emergency, these contact details or people may be subject to change. It is essential that your remote monitoring station is notified of any changes as once we can visually verify an incident is happening, we are obligated to contact a keyholder as well as emergency services.
For further advice see how to maintain business security if it is affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you would like to speak to our remote monitoring team please drop us an email here: CONTACT US