Petrol station security: Lighters are not permitted

Petrol station security

We all know that petrol is highly flammable and petrol stations are high-risk environments requiring extra care, precaution and security. But that doesn’t stop some individuals acting dangerously.

So, when an incident does occur, it’s essential that all the right measures be in place – with remote CCTV monitoring often a priority. Dangerous behaviour at petrol stations immediately put the public at serious risk and swift action needs to be taken.

The incident

During the evening of 22 March 2015 our operators received an alarm from a petrol station in Milton Keynes. Quick to respond to the alarm, operators started to view CCTV live at the site.

They were quick to identify an individual acting suspiciously. Importantly, operators noticed he was playing with lighter and disturbing other customers. The risk of an open flame at a petrol station meant the operator took swift action.

At 20:13 the operator issued an audio warning to the petrol station. They made it clear to the individual that live CCTV was monitoring them and that their behaviour was deemed dangerous.

At the same time operators took the decisive action to stop all of the pumps at the petrol station. This would ensure that the impact of any open flame was minimised. Thankfully, Farsight operators have market-leading remote monitoring software that allows to them to control the petrol stations systems directly and remotely from the Observatory.

This is vital in allowing operators to secure petrol stations and reduce risk quickly and efficiently.

The results

Less than a minute after issuing the audio warning and disabling the pumps the Farsight operator notified police of the incident. Immediately after calling the police, the operator called the duty manager of the petrol station to make her aware of the situation.

Police arrived rapidly but Farsight operators continued to monitor the incident until they arrived, which was just seven minutes after the audio warning was made.

They quickly dealt with the situation and by 20:24 had arrested the individual.

Why petrol station security is a necessity

This incident highlights that remote CCTV monitoring and remote systems control is vital for effective petrol station security. When an individual is so blatantly putting themself and others at risk remote monitoring plays an invaluable role in returning the site to optimum security.

Off the back of this arrest, we thought we would put together our top three reasons why remote monitoring can be the all important factor in petrol station security:

1. Remote monitoring can eliminate the risk to lone workers

It’s common to see kiosk workers alone at petrol stations during the night. Working overnight in the kiosk to serve customers, they are also at high risk from criminal activity and fire. Alternatively, remote monitoring makes unmanned petrol forecourts a viable option. Find out more about unmanned petrol station security.

2. Risks can be identified swiftly

As this incident shows, the benefits of having remote CCTV monitoring at petrol forecourts extends to how quickly threats and incidents can be recognised – even when there is an attendant present.

Operators monitor alarms 24/7 at the Farsight Observatory. They are specially trained to quickly respond to alarms and view footage to identify threats. With the use of video analytics, operators will be automatically made aware of suspicious or disallowed behaviour and activity.

3. CCTV can be used for preventative and evidential purposes

CCTV and systems control can combine and allow operators to disable pumps from a remote location. This can be vital in a very dangerous situation when an attendant may not be able to access pumps or may not be present at unmanned forecourts. This is a very important part of remote monitoring becoming a preventative security measure for petrol stations.

On the other hand, CCTV footage can be used to identify and track individuals. As in this incident reported on by the BBC.

In addition, video analytics can further extend the power of CCTV at petrol stations. Video analytics can identify the type of threat to a forecourt – from an individual suspiciously staying too long at a pump through to an open flame.

Photo: Creative Commons “shell” by Mark Bold licensed under CC BY 2.0