Zombie stunt raises the profile of CCTV at unmanned forecourts – and it’s in time for Halloween!

Latest incident : CCTV camera

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead then you may well have seen their recent creepy publicity stunt using a petrol station and CCTV. If you haven’t, watch it here and be ready for zombies!

In time for Halloween we thought we’d take a look at the CCTV footage and explain how a bit of better CCTV video analytics could possibly have stopped the zombie invasion…(It’s a bit of fun, promise!).

First off, if the petrol forecourt didn’t have staff on 24 hours a day – but it was still open to the public during that time – then CCTV with high-tech video analytics would have been a great solution. With the right kind of systems installed, it would be possible for the cameras to pick up on specific threats: a vehicle taking an unusually long to fill up, someone using a mobile phone or using lighter, or even a individual (or zombie!) without a car.

Here at Farsight we’ve seen the number of forecourts using video analytics like this rocket from just 1% of the total unmanned forecourts we monitor, to 69% – and we’re expecting the remaining 31% to follow the trend soon.

Not only does the combination of video analytics and remote monitoring act as a clever way to identify threats, it puts a stop to them too.

In the zombie invasion video, there’s a moment when a zombie grabs the petrol pump and proceeds to spray petrol everywhere – enough to make any health and safety officer’s skin crawl! With a remote monitoring station already alerted to the fact there are zombies (without vehicles, tut tut) on the forecourt, they would have been able to cut off the petrol supply immediately.

In real terms, this is clearly a very important factor in ensuring petrol forecourts are a safe environment for the public when they’re unmanned. If a fire is started, accidentally or with criminal intent like in this incident, then the central station will be able to stop pumps being used and reduce the potential risk.

We’re not sure it would work against zombies – so don’t add it to your handbook in case of a zombie invasion – but when an individual is incorrectly using a petrol pump, is behaving dangerously or a vehicle is taking far too long filling up, the central station can also issue an audio warning at the forecourt. Whether the individual does have criminal intent or they simply didn’t realise their actions were dangerous, an audio warning will alert them to the fact that CCTV is in action and that they need to stop what they’re doing.

If harm is meant to be caused, an audio warning often triggers the culprit to stop what they’re doing as they’re aware CCTV may identify and incriminate them.

Over the past three years, the number of unmanned forecourts Farsight monitors has increased by 73%. That’s a significant trend for the security industry, as more and more forecourts adopt high tech security options as a viable alternative to manning the forecourts, which is a high-risk environment for any lone worker to be in.

So, overall, CCTV video analytics could have helped a bit against a zombie invasion but it, in our opinion, it may just be better to make a run for it instead…

Happy Halloween!