IDS Security News
All the latest security news and information, plus insights and updates from IDS Security Systems Ltd.

School fire alarm system

Schools and colleges must do what they can protect students and staff members from fire. A well-maintained fire alarm system is one of the most crucial components of that effort.

 

What fire safety measures are required in schools?

According to the UK government's guide to fire safety in new and existing school buildings, schools must:

  • Ensure steps are taken to "reduce the likelihood of fire"
  • Make staff members and students "familiar with emergency evacuation procedures"
  • Install and "maintain fire detection and alarm systems"

The first two items on that list are important, of course, but even the most stringent precautions cannot completely eliminate the risk of fire, and regular fire drills won't help if pupils and teachers aren't alerted when a real fire breaks out.

So it's critically important to ensure that your school has a working, well-designed fire warning system in place.

 

Installing fire alarms in schools

We at IDS Security have been installing fire alarms for many years.

When planning a new fire detection system, our engineers take the unique requirements of the project into account in order to deliver the best possible solution.

If you need a fire alarm system for a school or college, please get in touch with IDS to discuss your requirements and get a free, no-obligation installation quote.

 

Fire safety tips for schools

  • Hold regular fire drills to ensure that all pupils and staff know what to do in the event of a real fire

  • Talk to young students about the importance of fire safety to ensure they take fire alarms seriously

  • Make sure people with disabilities are taken into consideration - are fire exits, alarms and assembly points accessible to all?

  • Ensure staff members are familiar with the school's fire alarm system and how it works

  • Carry out regular risk assessments and review your fire prevention procedures frequently to make sure they are as effective as possible

Fire Alarm Systems from IDS >>

Image source: Wikipedia

Security camera on the wall of a house

CCTV cameras are commonly used to monitor commercial premises such as offices and warehouses. They are useful for deterring criminals, and if a break-in does occur, CCTV footage can serve as evidence of the crime and help the police to identify the perpetrator.

These are all great reasons to protect your business with a CCTV system. But is it worth setting up CCTV cameras outside your home, too?

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, thinks so. In 2015, he advocated putting CCTV "in every home" to help police detectives solve more crimes.

Here are 4 more reasons why property owners should consider installing CCTV cameras at home...

 

4 benefits of home CCTV cameras

  • Cameras make your home a less attractive target for burglars. If a thief is sizing up your house and trying to decide whether a break-in would be worth the risk of getting caught, the presence of one or more security cameras will generally make them less willing to chance it.

  • A robust security system may save you money on insurance premiums. Some insurers will charge you less for home insurance if you make your home less vulnerable to crime, for instance by installing CCTV cameras and/or other security systems.

  • If necessary, you'll be able to prove that a break-in occurred. CCTV footage of your property can serve as evidence that a trespasser used force to break into your home. This can be useful if you're trying to make an insurance claim.

  • They're not just good for catching burglars. Your CCTV camera may capture footage of crimes that don't involve a break-in. For example, a cyclist in Blackpool who collided with a three-year-old girl and dragged her along the pavement for several metres before fleeing the scene was caught thanks to footage captured by the family's home CCTV camera.

If you choose to install a CCTV camera on your property, please bear in mind that you may be breaking the law if your camera is pointing at public spaces and/or other people's private properties. For this reason, it's a good idea to call in an experienced CCTV installer to recommend the best system for your home.

Contact IDS Security to request a CCTV installation quote >>

The Regulatory Reform Order, or RRO, is the UK's legislative document about fire alarms operation and installation. This document is broken down into several sections and subsections can be difficult to digest if you're not a fire safety professional. So, in this blog, we aim to give you a bite-sized version of the UK's fire alarm regulations. 

The UK government advises that all fire alarms and smoke detection systems should comply with the British Standard BS 5839. Let's take a look at some of the most common questions we get about fire alarm regulations:

  • Do I need to have a fire alarm installed?
  • Who can install a fire alarm system?
  • How often should I service my fire alarms?

Do I need to have a fire alarm installed?

The current regulations require all businesses to have a suitable fire detection system in place. This means that in the event of a fire, all employees would be warned and would have time to evacuate safely! 

If you don't have a fire alarm installed in your home, you aren't technically breaking the law, but it could affect your home insurance! We talk more about this in our blog - Are Fire Alarms Required By Law?

To assess whether or not you need a fire alarm system, we recommend considering the following:

  • Are your premises large & multi-storeyed?
  • Do you have high-risk flammable substances around?
  • Do you partake in any activities that involve heat/fire such as cooking?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, it's recommended that you have a fire alarm system installed to keep you safe whether that's in your home or at work. 

Enquire about our fire alarm systems now!

 

How often should I service my fire alarm?

The government doesn't require you to test your fire alarms after a set amount of time, but they do recommend maintaining your fire alarm periodically so that it functions correctly at all times. 

To do a fire alarm assessment, a competent person needs to inspect and test the fire alarm system roughly once every 6 months. For larger establishments, testing your system once every 3 months will help prevent unexpected faults. 

Speak to our team if you need help with your fire alarm assessment. 

Who can install a fire alarm system?

As it stands, the government requirements state that a person installing a fire alarm system has to be 'competent'. This means they should have:

  • An excellent understanding of your chosen fire alarm system and how it works.
  • Be capable of advising you if the grade or category of your chosen fire alarm system.
  • Have a good understanding of the relevant British Standard BS 5839
  • Have sound electrical knowledge

The IDS technicians are all fully trained and qualified to install fire alarm security systems quickly, efficiently and safely.

We highly recommend that you get in touch with us before trying to install your fire alarm security system yourself.

 

Wall covered in CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras are a tried and tested method for protecting business premises. Not only is CCTV an effective way to deter (and capture evidence of) criminal behaviour, modern systems can also be tied to smart systems that will trigger facilities like lights, doors and gates to give you extra peace of mind.

If you're beginning to think about installing CCTV cameras, it's important to know the basics of where to place your cameras in order to make the most of your security system. Placing cameras in the wrong points may render your security system useless, so make sure you have the right number of cameras in the right places!

Where to place your CCTV cameras

Here are our recommendations...

Anywhere past break-ins occurred

Looking at the history of your building will make it easier to identify and monitor potential weak points. If intrusions have occurred in the past, it's important to increase security at the break-in point(s) to make sure lightning doesn't strike twice.

Easy targets

Spots like the front door, back door and ground-floor windows represent very obvious access points for burglars and trespassers. These are key places to consider when installing CCTV cameras, as the majority of break-ins occur in these vulnerable spots. Nearly 75% of thieves come in through the front door, so this is a particularly important spot to monitor.

Places with valuable items

Locations where high-value items are kept (e.g. garages, till points, offices housing large amounts of cash) can be an attractive target for criminals. Placing CCTV cameras in these high-risk areas should help to keep your most valuable assets safe.

Blind spots

Even a small blind spot can present an opportunity for a crafty criminal. Use multiple cameras to cover multiple angles and eliminate blind spots - make sure there's nowhere for would-be thieves to hide!

Communal areas

Hallways, kitchens and communal work areas are ideal places to install CCTV cameras. Remember to ensure that your CCTV cameras aren't monitoring other people's properties or private areas like restrooms.

IDS Security's expert security engineers have been installing CCTV cameras for years - we can carry out a survey of your premises and design a CCTV camera system that's ideal for your requirements.

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For those of you with pets, you may have experienced that awful sinking feeling when you arrive home from the shops and the burglar alarm is going wild! Immediately your mind jumps to conclusions, but upon closer inspection, you realise it was just Dolly jumping up on the sofa to get comfortable that's triggered your alarm.

Of course, if the alarm goes on and on without being silenced, you're upsetting your pet, disturbing your neighbours and potentially wasting police time. All of this can be avoided with a pet-friendly alarm system, so let's take a look at what they are and how they work. 

What is a pet-friendly alarm?

A pet-friendly alarm is not that different from your typical intruder alarm. The main difference is the way the passive infra-red motion sensors are designed and calibrated. This makes your intruder alarm tolerant to small changes in passive infrared heat at floor level. 

How does a pet-friendly alarm work?

A passive infrared motion detector is capable of detecting thermal changes in the environment. When a burglar enters your home they create a disturbance in the empty room's passive infra-red energy, triggering the alarm and letting you know there's been a break-in. This method works fine, in theory, until you throw a permanent resident like a pet into the mix!

When you opt for a pet-friendly alarm, your passive infra-red energy detector is set to ignore movements within a certain height or weight range. For example, if your pet remains on the ground level and weighs less than 35kg then they won't trigger the alarm. 

Of course, if a burglar enters the house, they're usually much taller and larger than your average pup, triggering the alarm and letting you know that you've got an unexpected visitor in your home.

What are the flaws of pet-friendly alarms?

If you have pets that spend most of their time basking in the sunshine or laying in front of the fire while you're out then these types of alarms should work well for you. However, if you have a big dog (weighing 40kg or more) that loves to jump up at the window every time someone walks past the house, then this type of alarm might be quite unreliable. 

What are my options?

If you think that a standard pet-friendly alarm isn't a good fit for your home, then there are plenty of other options for you to consider.  In-house security cameras, for example, can help you keep an eye on the activity in a room to make sure that the alarm hasn't falsely detected your pet.

Smart devices connected to your mobile phone or smartwatch will allow you to quickly review the intrusion and determine whether to disarm and rearm the alarm or not. This can be particularly handy if you have a lively little pet in your home.

Another alternative would be a specialist sensor such as a glass-break detector. This type of detector is able to monitor the sound frequency of the room and will activate an alarm when the sound of glass breaking is detected!

Get in touch with us to discuss your pet-friendly requirements and we will be able to design a bespoke alarm system to suit you and your pet's needs. 

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