Education institutions can be exposed to various security threats including break-ins to premises after hours as well the threats of arson, vandalism and graffiti, mainly from external sources. These threats seem to be on the increase and gone are the days when they only occurred during holiday periods.
Stefan Oberholtzer, group managing director, Chubb Security Southern Africa examines these critical issues faced by education institutions today and looks at ways in which education administrators can protect their assets, their property as well as their students.
Vandalism and graffiti can account for the majority of individual criminal incidents within an education environment, but reports of incidents decreasing by up to 90% are common where CCTV cameras have been installed.
Most arson attacks happen out of school/college/university hours, when the risk of damage to property is increased, but the likelihood of causing harm to people is low. When these hours are extended, there is an increased risk that buildings could be occupied by staff and learners when a fire breaks out.
To deter a would-be arsonist, professionally installed, managed and maintained CCTV systems can monitor access points and vulnerable locations around the premises and may provide valuable evidence. Intruder alarms and access control give early warning to a potential intruder.
Fire detection systems can be integrated into automatic fire suppression systems such as sprinklers, or water mist extinguishing systems. In areas where water damage would prevent such an option such as computer rooms, gaseous extinguishing systems flood the area with an array of gases to extinguish the fire.
Tips to enhance security
1. Buy the best system you can afford, cheap security is no security, and always use a South African Intruder Detection Services Association (SAIDSA) approved security firm.
2. Consider the basic security issues first. Keep temptation at bay by keeping valuables out of sight, especially at night.
3. Ensure staff are equipped in understanding how to deal with a fire, from using the various types of extinguishers through to evacuating the premises.
4. Train your staff on basic security principles, for example, the need to challenge strangers on the premises, closing window blinds at night, locking cabinets etc. Ensure everyone understands entry/exit procedures.
5. Take a broad view of security, the more you integrate your approach, the more you save and the better your security will be.
6. Do not regard security as a cost. A good security approach can reduce your insurance premiums and improve staff productivity because they feel more secure.
7. Do not rely on an alarm sounder only. An alarm without a response is just a noise. Ensure your alarm is monitored.
8. Do not rely on an old alarm to work without regular servicing. Regular servicing is advisable.
9. Ensure your premises are well lit in the evenings.
10. Do not assume that it happens to someone else. Always be prepared!
For more information contact Chubb Security Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 761 7000.
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