In 2016, for every 1000 businesses 303 burglaries were recorded. That’s a pretty staggering 30% of businesses being affected by burglaries, across all industries. If you’re not putting the right measures in place to guard against intruders, then you could become a part of this statistic, and experience significant losses in assets and property damage.
A key measure in protecting against this kind of crime is obviously an intruder alarm system. Having the right system in place can not only act as a deterrent in some cases, but also enable you to be more responsive if the event of an incident.
With that in mind, here are 4 things to know about choosing an intruder alarm system for your business.
Choosing your provider
Installing an alarm system is not just a case of putting up a few sensors. Your business and its requirements should be thoroughly scoped out, and the solution tailored to you. Following installation, there should also be thorough testing, and ongoing maintenance to ensure your system is fully operational when you need it most. Achieving complete peace of mind comes with selecting the right provider. There are certain industry standards you should ensure they adhere to, such as the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) certification – they have a dedicated Intruder Alarm Systems scheme which demonstrates a business’ competency in this area. At a higher level, SSAIB schemes comply with key Police and insurer policies, ensuring you’ll be able to make a claim in the event of an incident.
Know your obligations
Speaking of insurance, having an adequate intruder alarm system fitted is frequently a condition of the underwriting of business insurance policies. It’s important when considering the provider of your alarm system and the scope that you understand what your obligations are from an insurance perspective. If an incident did occur, you want to ensure that you would be able to make a claim and be adequately compensated for any losses. This is closely linked back to selecting the right provider and ensuring they comply with relevant standards. Where an insurer requires an alarm system to be fitted, there may be other conditions and caveats. This often includes having an ongoing maintenance contract, meaning you should have an appointed provider in place who will carry out regular servicing and testing as well as keeping record and documentation around this agreement.
Unmonitored vs monitored
It’s rare for business premises to have an unmonitored alarm system – “audible only” alarms are most commonly used in lower-risk homes, as they require someone to be aware of the alarm activating to alert the police. Monitored systems, in addition to having a site warning device, also have an alarm transmission system (ATS), which transmits signals to an alarm receiving centre (ARC), which is staffed 24/7. Upon installation, your provider should obtain a police URN (unique reference number), which in the event of an incident can be used by the ARC to alert the police and request an immediate response to an incident at your premises. Again, for insurance and overall peace of mind purposes, it’s a good idea to select your provider based on their credentials around monitoring – look out for the use of an NSI accredited monitoring centre, which ensures their ARC complies with relevant standards. False alarms are another important consideration, linked to choosing the right provider. If a monitored system triggers too many false alarms, the police response may be curtailed or withdrawn completely, which will affect your insurance coverage and leave you exposed in the event of an incident.
Intruder alarm system grades
Getting an idea of which system grade you need helps you in two ways – first of all it helps you ensure that all of your requirements are met against set guidelines. Secondly, insurers often specify a minimum grade of alarm system for insurance cover. Before your system is installed, your provider should carry out a full location and technical survey to correctly identify what grade of system is required.
What are the intruder alarm system grades?
The following grading levels are outlined in BS EN 50131-1 – the European standard for intrusion and hold-up alarm systems. Each level is based on the risk you’re protecting against – i.e. the level of knowledge, planning and resources of the intruder.
- Grade 1 (Low risk) – the intruder is expected to have little knowledge of the alarm system and is restricted to easily available and accessible tools
- Grade 2 (Low to medium risk) – the intruder is expected to have limited knowledge of the alarm system and has use of a general range of tools and instruments (e.g. – a multimeter/multitester)
- Grade 3 (Medium to high risk) – the intruder is expected to be fairly knowledgeable around alarm systems and has access to a comprehensive range of tools and portable electronic equipment
- Grade 4 (High risk) – used when security and protection against intruders take precedence over all factors. The intruder is expected to have the resources and knowledge to plan an intrusion in detail and has access to a full range of equipment.
Getting the right intruder alarm system in place is vital for your business. If you’d like any guidance or advice – Century can help. We’ve been providing homeowners and organisations with intruder alarm solutions for nearly 2 decades, are accredited by the SSAIB and can monitor your system from our NSI approved receiving centre. Get in touch for a free quote.
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