Season’s greetings and 2017 festive opening hours

With Christmas around the corner we’d like to wish all our customers and contacts a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Opening hours

Over the festive holidays our offices will be shut from lunchtime on 22 December till 8.30am on 27 December.  We will then close at 4pm on 29 December and reopen at 8.30am on 2 January.

Out of hours emergencies

During the festive period we will, of course, maintain our full emergency call out facility with our telephones permanently manned and duty engineers always available. For out of hour emergencies over the festive season please call our 24/7 telephone line: 01483 791 515.

What to expect from Security technology in 2018

Security technology has a constant habit of evolving. In this article we’re given a glimpse of the very latest developments and popular trends that will continue into 2018.

As intruders get smarter in their approaches, and the threat of violent crime continues to concern people, so does the security technology to combat it.

 

  1. More sophisticated perimeter protection – for both homes, businesses and other organisations alike the security of their premises perimeter has become paramount in recent months. Be it to deter burglars, other intruders or the threat of violent crime such as acid attacks, we’ve seen a big rise in interest in CCTV, automatic gates and systems integration with intruder alarms. The technology for these are becoming more precise.  On the CCTV front high-definition developments are serving up even sharper images. With access control systems, many give property owners greater ease of management by enabling them to operate their system remotely via and app, or log-in to view who is on the premises.

 

  1. Smarter recognition – CCTV systems are also becoming smarter. Avigilon have developed systems which, using vehicle recognition and facial recognition technology, can pinpoint a specific vehicle or person in a given territory or across a site.  This brings greater speed of identification and location of a missing vehicle, person or an intruder, in a given space.

 

  1. Completely wireless intruder alarm systems – gone are the days when intruder alarm systems needed wiring. The latest models are completely wireless and more versatile for installation on a premises. This is great news for properties with historic features or aesthetics which need to be maintained.  The physical impact on a property from an intruder alarm installation is greatly reduced.

 

  1. Integrated systems for a more holistic protection – various security systems such as CCTV, intruder, gates and access control now integrate more easily and seamlessly with each other to give more holistic security protection to a site. This makes them easier for the home, business or site owner to manage and monitor.

 

  1. Flush smoke detectors – a new development we’re expecting to see in 2018 are smoke detectors which are flush to the ceiling and do not protrude. This will offer added protection to properties with important aesthetic features which have to be maintained.

 

If you would like to learn more about the latest security technology developments, why not contact our sales team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Protecting your home and possessions in the longer nights

Traditionally there is a rise in burglary offences at this time of year due to the longer nights and increased spending in the lead up to the Christmas period. Here’s a reminder of seven simple actions you can put in place to help protect your home.

 

  1. Make your property look occupied when you are not there by setting lights on a timer switch – vary which lights come on and when so it doesn’t become obvious that you are out

 

  1. Move anything of value out of view of your windows – go outside and see what an intruder may find enticing.

 

  1. Lock side gates of your property with a secure lock, not just a simple bolt and make sure all your windows, patio and conservatory windows are locked. Remember to lock kitchen and bathroom windows before you go out – these often get forgotten

 

  1. In the run up to Christmas store presents in a locked cupboard, preferably in a room protected by a burglar alarm detector/sensor

 

  1. Check your security lighting is working and consider CCTV if there is easy access to the rear of your property which an intruder could take advantage of. There are affordable infra-red versions that operate in the dark

 

  1. Once it is up, avoid putting wrapped presents under your Christmas tree, especially if they are visible through your windows

 

  1. Don’t leave keys for cars or back doors visible through windows or right by the doors in your property.

 

If you are concerned about the security of your home and possessions, contact the Absolute Security team for a free survey. Tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Electronic Gate Safety

Electronic Gates Free Health & Safety Check From Absolute Security

Automatic Gates give greater convenience and controlled access to all types of property –  from homes and businesses, through to major organisations and institutions. At the same time they offer valuable protection to:

  • Stop children and animals running out on to busy roads
  • Manage, monitor and control access to a site
  • Deter intruders and make access to the property difficult
  • Deter car thefts from drives

They can also help to reduce a home/commercial insurance premiums and can enhance the aesthetics of a property.

New technology for electronic gates

New technology in recent years have made Automatic Gates far more sophisticated and user-friendly, for example when it comes to controlling access they can:

  • Alert assigned fixed intercom or landline/ mobile phones, which can be responded to remotely by the property owner or a receptionist – they don’t have to be on-site to give/decline access
  • Enable the property owner to see the person at their gate, even if they are not on the premises – via two-way video-calling functionality linking to mobile phones
  • Programme permissions into the Gate’s access systems so dedicated people can gain entry. Permissions can be time-specific to permit entry at fixed times.
  • Number-plate recognition and other hands-free permission options – so, for convenience, the gates automatically open to approved people. They in turn don’t have to type in an access key, present a fob or buzz the intercom
  • Integrate with other security measures on a premises, for example CCTV and fire detection (in the case of the latter, so they don’t cause obstructions when people are trying to evacuate the premises, delay the emergency services or prevent a lock-down operation running smoothly)

Health & Safety considerations

Automatic gates tend to come in two varieties:

  • Electronic – Those which are controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs and then open automatically
  • Manual – Those controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs which then require a person to push them open

In the case of the first, new health and safety regulations have come into force over recent years.  These have focused on minimising the risk to people and things of getting trapped as the gate opens or closes.

This legislation focuses on aspects such as the gate and its system’s:

  • hinges
  • safety/pressure edge
  • photocells/ safety beams
  • support posts
  • control cabinet
  • warning mechanism

All commercial property is legally required to maintain automatic gates to meet current Health & Safety requirements – that includes multi-occupancy housing, schools, rented property and premises managed by companies. Home owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their gate is safe for anyone using it.

So it is important to maintain your Electronic Gate (for example via a regular servicing regime). This will ensure its parts remain fully functional and compliant with the latest industry standards.  When looking to a maintenance/servicing company, ensure the engineers are Gate Safe trained and accredited.

Free survey

Absolute Security is offering property owners with Electronic Gates the opportunity to have a free Health & Safety to ensure their gates comply with the latest guidelines.  If you would like to take up this offer or are interested in how Automatic Gates would improve the security of your premises, please contact the Sales Team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk 

Security Service Engineer Vacancies

We’re hiring – security engineer vacancies at Absolute Security

Absolute Security is delighted to announce it has a number of vacancies, as the business continues to grow and meet customer demand.

The team is currently looking for:

  • Service engineers
  • Installation engineers
  • Junior engineers, including apprenticeship opportunities

..to join its busy service and installation division.

You can find out more here  and, to apply, contact Will Hucklebridge on tel 01483 791500 or email will@absolutesecurity.co.uk  No agencies please

Absolute Security Systems is a growing and successful business in the heart of Godalming, Surrey.  It was founded in 1989 and over the years has built up a loyal customer base and a great team working environment.  As well as competitive salaries, the company offers a pension and healthcare scheme and other benefits.

 

 

Securing a school’s perimeter

Fencing, gates and other perimeter security measures in schools continue to face increasing scrutiny.  Not only are Schools under pressure to tighten safeguarding measures to protect pupils and staff during the school day, many need to protect valuable equipment and prevent damage to the site from intruders ‘out of hours’.   With education budgets tightly squeezed, any loss or damage is keenly felt.

In our specialist security work with schools, we’re often asked to survey and advise on the robustness of a site’s perimeter security.  From the questions we’re often asked here are some key considerations to assist your school.

  1. Is fencing still fit for purpose?

Many schools occupy large and often fragmented sites.  As a result gaps in fencing from long-term wear and tear can go unchecked.  It is sensible to establish a regular check of the site’s perimeter fencing to ensure it still deters intruders.  Be on the look-out for any close hanging branches or buildings which can be used to help an intruder climb over fences.  If you do have trees in close proximity to your fence, do check after storms that no fallen branches have caused damage or weakened it.

 

  1. Consider CCTV

CCTV has been proven as a deterrent to intruders and also gives you a valuable source of evidence if a break-in occurs.  CCTV systems can be run off a school’s IP network to minimise the need for cabling and can be programmed to send an alert which pinpoints the exact location of a breach. Some CCTV cameras also come with sirens which can be utilised to send key security alert signals (eg in the case of a lock-down) to remote areas of a site.

  1. Ensure automatic gates comply with latest health and safety standards

Automatic gates in schools tend to come in two varieties:

  • Electronic – Those which are controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs and then open automatically
  • Manual – Those controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs which then require a person to push them open

In the case of the first, new health and safety regulations have come into force over recent years.  These have focused on minimising the risk to people and things of getting trapped as the gate opens or closes. Schools are recommended to ensure their gates meet the latest standards.  Do contact our team for a free assessment.

  1. Consider permission-led access control systems and doors

Some access control systems enable you to assign permissions to specific people for access to designated areas, and at certain times.  This can greatly help schools to manage and control who can and can’t access particular areas (such as science and IT labs) during the day and out of hours.  The systems can work with perimeter gates and doors on to the site too.

 

  1. Maintain a regular maintenance programme

Security systems such as intruder alarms, CCTV, access control and gates should receive a regular (annual) maintenance/service visit to ensure they remain fully functional.  Often a school’s insurer and OFSTED will look favourably on a regularly maintained system. With insurers, more competitively priced policies can be obtained as a result.

 

  1. Test your perimeter’s security for different scenarios

If you experience a problem with your school’s perimeter security, you want to be fully prepared to deal with it.  As part of the ongoing risk assessments and scenario planning schools undertake, it is worth factoring in different events involving the perimeter measures.  This will help to flag weaknesses which need to be addressed.  For example in a lock-down situation, do you want perimeter access points to be closed or open to get the intruder out and the emergency services in?  In the event of a fire, how will perimeter measures help or hinder evacuation and/or access for the emergency services?  By undertaking scenario-planning in this way, schools can strengthen their safeguarding and security procedures to factor in specific nuances of their site.

 

Summary

Unfortunately many school premises were built before security became such a concern and so present schools with many logistical issues.  Controlling access on to the site should be a key consideration of a school’s senior management. The key is to ensure perimeter security measures remain fit for purpose and support other safeguarding procedures. This can be achieved by periodic reviews, scenario planning and regular maintenance.

If you would like a free survey of your school’s perimeter security and automatic gate’s compliance with the latest Health and Safety, please contact one of our in-house education experienced surveyors on 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

 

Ofsted adopts greater scrutiny of school security during inspections

 

In recent news reports it has emerged that Ofsted is adopting greater scrutiny of school security during inspections.  In some respects schools have found weaknesses in their site security have led to their Ofsted rating being downgraded. See this report.

Inspecting safeguarding directives

Much of Ofsted’s security focus has stemmed from new directives on the safeguarding of pupils.  An Ofsted spokesperson commented:

“Ofsted does not set the standards that schools and other education providers have to meet on safeguarding. Our job is to inspect against the standards and statutory guidance set by the Department for Education.  If a school’s safeguarding arrangements do not meet these requirements, then at inspection we will judge them to be ineffective, this will lead to an overall inadequate judgement.”

Common weaknesses in school site security

Often school sites were constructed before security became such a key expectation of school management. We are often called in to survey and report on a school’s security weaknesses and these tend to stem from the following areas:

  • Gaps and weak-points in perimeter fencing.
  • Access gates not meeting current European standards.
  • Manual-locking doors (and so not linked to an access control system).
  • Open access to all areas (rather than controlled access permissions through passes and locks, particularly for key ‘at-risk’ rooms such as IT suites, science labs etc).
  • Security systems failing short of the current standards.
  • The wrong type of access control electronic locking used on fire exits and fire routes. We have seen numerous examples of this including some, which have the potential for the lock to jam under side pressure and magnetic locks remaining locked in certain fault conditions.
  • Multiple and separate fire and intruder detection systems across the site, rather than one central system which can quickly pinpoint an alert and initiate a lock-down or other response procedures.
  • A lack of CCTV to monitor and record incidents during the school day and also out of hours. Schools still have safeguarding responsibilities when it comes to how the site is used by community groups beyond the school day.

How Absolute Security create robust school security systems

Our Education specialists have extensive knowledge and experience of school security systems.  We invest time to survey the unique issues for each school’s premises in order to find a robust and practical solution which supports their safeguarding policies.

We work with both the private and state education sector and advise on, install and maintain a wide range of school security systems including:

  • CCTV systems – including HD CCTV and those utilising an IP network
  • Access control – including intercom systems, passes and with remote monitoring options
  • Electronic VMS (Visitor Management Systems) for the “signing in and out” of visitors, contractors etc as well as utilising the same system to monitor and generate reports of late arrivals and pupils leaving early
  • Security lighting
  • Automatic gates and barriers
  • Intruder alarm systems
  • Fire detection systems
  • Integrating security systems – CCTV, access control, intruder alarm and fire detection for better centralised management and control
  • Installing dedicated networks for all a school or college’s security needs (if the current IP network isn’t able to cope with the security system functionality)

 If you would value a free survey of your school’s security measures, please contact Sandy Busek and the team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Absolute Security welcomes James Lewis from Buchanan and Curwen Security to its team

 

Absolute Security is delighted to announce the appointment of  James Lewis to its sales team.  James joins the Godalming-based security systems firm as a Business Development Manager.  He brings over 14 years’ experience in the security and fire detection industry and was previously a successful Sales and Project Manager at Buchanan and Curwen Security, before its recent takeover by Spy Alarms.

James has a track-record in successfully advising clients on a wide range of security systems including intruder alarms, CCTV and access control as well as fire detection systems.  He regularly helps homeowners, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large corporate organisations to find the right solution for their security requirements.

Helping with security requirements of all shapes and sizes

Commentating on James’ appointment, Absolute Security Chairman Andy Rees said,

“We are delighted to welcome James to our sales team.  He has considerable experience of the operational management of high profile security contracts and has a track-record in ensuring the efficient, reliable and timely delivery of security projects.  His knowledge and understanding of the high industry standards the Absolute Security team adhere to means he’s fitting in really well.  We’ve been impressed with how well he’s supporting our new and existing clients with their security requirements.”

Surrey-based support for customers

James says he’s thoroughly enjoying being part of the Absolute Security team and adds,

“Absolute Security is such a well-respected firm in the area.  The breadth of security solutions it delivers for customers and its passion for maintaining high quality standards is very impressive.  It’s also nice to be with a Surrey business again, as my last firm was bought by a Kent-based company who closed the local office.  Saying that, I’m enjoying meeting Absolute Security’s customers around the whole of the South East of England and helping them find the right security solution for their needs. ”

About Absolute Security Systems in Surrey

Absolute Security specialises in a wide range of security systems and are accredited with many Security Industry Professional Bodies, this includes being a Gold-level Member with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

James Lewis can be contacted at the Absolute Security offices on tel. 01483 791500 or by emailing sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk.  More information about Absolute Security’s services can be found at www.absolutesecurity.co.uk

Home network security tips

Increasingly we find more and more homeowners favouring devices which run off their home networks. This no longer just includes laptops, mobile phones and tablets – CCTV and intruder alarms as well as smart TVs and some household appliances have the capability to integrate within a home network.

Security tips for your home network

The security of such networks has recently been in the spotlight.  We wanted to reassure customers that, when it comes to our installation of security systems on a home network, we follow best practice security guidance.  We also wanted to share some simple but valuable tips to help homeowners further protect the security of their home networks.

  1. Choose complex passwords – wherever possible select passwords for device logins which have a minimum of 8 digits and include a mixture of upper and lower case letters and numbers. Avoid using dates of birth and obvious numbers instead of letters (for example 3 for Es and 5 for Ss).  Give each device a separate password and change passwords regularly.
  2. Storing passwords – avoid having a list of passwords on your computer, phone or tablet. If you really need to write down passwords to remember them, do so on a bit of paper and store this in a safe in your home.  Better still, use password manager software to create and securely manage complex passwords.
  3. Anti-virus software – ensure your anti-virus software is up to date for your home PCs, and that it is a reputable one with a proven track-record and good reviews.  When downloading any software, ensure it is from a reputable source.
  4. Be more wary with emails – ensure all family members are wary of any emails requesting the re-keying in of login credentials, as these may be phishing. If you give your login details to a third party you can be liable for any adverse consequences and fraudulent activity which happens on your account.
  5. Public WIFI – when out and about, avoid using public, unsecured, WIFI networks to connect to sites which have your personal details such as online banking, security apps etc.
  6. Regularly back-up your data – adopt a regime of regularly backing up your data to minimise any disruption should a computer/device fail. If you are just relying on a Cloud-based back up consider storing an alternative on an external hard-drive device or USB stick which is stored in a safe in the home.
  7. Two-factor authentication – for some devices such as access control systems, consider having a two-step login, such as a security fob and access code, or a security fob and fingerprint swipe. This gives you added security.
  8. Fingerprint authentication – fingerprints are becoming a popular alternative to passwords and are a feature of many computer and mobile phone security. If you are keen to use this route, ensure only your fingerprint is designated in the system for your key sites.  Be careful of adding other family members, especially children.
  9. Suppliers and contractors – if you are having suppliers and contractors around your home be careful about giving them access to your home network WIFI. Also, if you’re going out, ensure all computers and devices auto-lock after a few moments of non-use.
  10. Check your insurance cover – if loss of data could have serious consequences for you (for example if you run a business from home), explore if your insurance policy covers this and increase cover if necessary. Also, check that devices sitting on your home network are covered by your policy and comply with any security conditions your insurer stipulates.

Can we help?

And if you are looking to integrate CCTV, access, intruder and fire detection systems in your home, please talk to one of the team about the most secure ways of doing this.  Call 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Glow in the dark technology takes on a new dimension in fire safety

Emergency lighting is widely used as a secondary lighting source that switches on automatically when a building’s normal power supply disrupted to the primary lights. In the case of a fire within a premises, it can be really helpful in facilitating a safe evacuation.

Introducing Photoluminescent strips

One criticism of emergency lighting, however, is that the lights are usually located on the ceiling and, in the case of a fire, the smoke rises and collects smother all lights both primary and secondary.  As a result of this concern, we’ve recently seen businesses show an interest in Photoluminescent strips.

Photoluminescent materials were originally designed to complement existing emergency lighting systems. Advances in technology and improvements in their light intensity now mean that, in many circumstances, they can replace secondary electrical/battery emergency lighting altogether.

Photoluminescent fire evacuation and guidance systems

We work with photoluminescent specialists Ecobrite Ultra who have devised evacuation/guidance systems which do not require electricity. The intensity of light and glow from the photoluminescent (glow in the dark) materials used, are making them a popular choice to signpost exit routes.

The strips and photoluminescent signage can be set at waist level or lower and so create a guidance system should ceiling lights get obscured by smoke or fail. As part of a system, lifesaving appliances and fire-fighting equipment can be signposted with the photoluminescent materials so, in the case of an emergency, they are easy to locate.

Lifespan and maintenance

The strips typically have a 10year life span and unlike electrical lighting do not require a regular maintenance programme. The intensity of the light in the materials has also been proven to be visible to those with impaired vision and Ecobrite Ultra is doing a lot of work with the RNIB.

Want to know more?

Photoluminescent materials can be used both inside and outside a building (for example to signpost external fire safety assembly points). If you would like to learn more about integrating them with your fire detection please contact our team on 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk.