Remote Monitoring: Making unmanned forecourts a safe, and popular option

Petrol station incident

If you haven’t seen it already, CCTV footage from a petrol station in Greenwich shows the shocking moment a man starts a fire – you can watch it here. We all know the dangers of flames near petrol!

The footage got us talking about security at petrol forecourts and how advances in CCTV technology are making huge differences to how these high-risk areas are run.

More and more supermarkets and petrol forecourts are running on a 24-hour basis and as a result there’s a continuing issue on manning the stations 24/7 whilst also providing comprehensive lone worker protection. Not only are these areas at serious risk from fire, lone workers are also at risk from robberies.

So what is a viable solution to this problem? Consumers want to be able to fill up their cars at any time, but lone workers need to have adequate protection.

Remote monitoring is solving the battle – and its increasing popularity is reflected in the three-year 73% increase in unmanned forecourts we monitor. Opting for high-technology CCTV and monitoring is now a great solution to the difficulties of opening a petrol forecourt 24 hours a day.

Our senior operations manager, Malcolm, explains: “Over the past three years the use of CCTV at unmanned forecourts has been refined to ensure the safety of the general public.

“Working with technology partners and Primary Authority Partners for Petroleum Legislation, Farsight has produced an affordable and environmentally friendly solution that can be retro fitted around existing equipment. All whilst following national guidelines.”

Video analytics is playing a big role in making remote monitoring a safe and intelligent solution to the security risks posed by unmanned forecourts. In fact, in 2011, only 1% of petrol forecourts monitored by Farsight used video analytics. In 2014 that number has rocketed to 69%.

We’re expecting the remaining 31% to follow in due course.

As Malcolm says: “Video analytics technology make unmanned forecourts a safe, cost-effective and secure alternative to staffing. Cameras rapidly identify specific threats.

We’ve heard a bit of buzz in the security industry about cameras being equipped with automatic number plate recognition to prevent uninsured drivers filling up. So that’s another step in the potential of video analytics!

“All systems that we have in place are adapted perfectly to the unmanned environment and highlight the abilities of video analytics in high-risk situations.”

Ray Blake, Head of Petroleum from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) says: “Controlling the risks of fire and explosion at unmanned forecourts operated by our Primary Authority Partners is a high priority. National guidance requires a system that has a two-way voice call point that allows the public to contact the remote monitoring station.

“On top of that, the remote monitoring station must have the ability to control power to the pumps and deactivate them in case of an emergency, to contact the locally based emergency services, and to ensure a competent person attends the site within a few minutes and have a comprehensive set of procedures in place for serious incidents such as a car or person on fire.”