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Can You Use Home CCTV For Commercial Premises?

The use of CCTV cameras at home and for business is becoming increasingly popular. Not only do such systems help to protect the given property from criminal activity, but they also offer a certain peace of mind to the owners of the property.

While there can be some investment needed in order to install CCTV cameras, their benefits are clear. With home CCTV systems becoming more sophisticated all the time, you might even be tempted to ask yourself whether you can use a home CCTV system at your commercial premises.

Why install CCTV at all?

There can be many benefits to installing CCTV systems, both at home and at your business premises.

You will need to decide what areas of your home and business need to be protected, and there are rules associated with the use of CCTV that will be mentioned later in this article.

  • The installation of CCTV can have a positive influence on your insurance premiums. There are some insurance companies that give discounts for both home and business policies if CCTV is installed.
  • The biggest reason for having CCTV in place is the ability to capture any criminal activity that may occur at the premises. This footage can be crucial evidence when dealing with damage or theft at a home or business property.
  • It can provide a valuable visual deterrent for any criminals thinking of entering the premises. It is therefore important to think about where you will want the CCTV cameras to be on your own property, so that they can have the greatest possible impact.
  • Many modern systems now offer the ability to monitor the cameras from a phone or tablet. This will help you to keep on monitoring your property when you are away, plus it ensures you are aware of anyone who might be looking at the property.
  • If you have an existing security system, it may be possible for CCTV to be integrated into this without the need for two separate systems.

 

You should always use the most reputable commercial CCTV installation services in Essex or wherever your business is located, to help ensure your new system is installed correctly.

Commercial CCTV vs home CCTV

Both of these types of CCTV system have become increasingly sophisticated over the years. There was a time when commercial CCTV essentially provided a series of grainy pictures that often didn’t have the detail to provide useful evidence.

However, with improvements in cameras and recording technology, there are now cameras that offer clear and sharp pictures. It is important to look at the two systems to see which one would be best for your situation and setting.

Home security CCTV has come a long way over the years. Early versions were much like commercial systems, with large cameras and bulky recording and control equipment. However, modern CCTV for the home is now much smaller and the picture quality has improved.

Many such systems are now equipped with night vision and also audio recording, which makes them ideal for outside surveillance as well as inside the home.

Commercial CCTV has also steadily improved, with the old VHS tape recording versions being replaced with hard-drive or solid-state drive versions. This has optimised the quality of the recording and dispenses with the grainy and worn-out tapes of old.

One thing that commercial systems can offer for larger businesses is a better picture and zoom capabilities than some home systems. The control equipment can also offer greater capability, with the ability to control many cameras at once.

Commercial CCTV guidelines

There are strict guidelines in place to help protect the public and ensure CCTV equipment is used correctly. Some of the guidelines include:

  • You need to mount signs explaining that you are using CCTV and the reasons why
  • You need to be able to provide images of the recordings within 40 days of the request
  • You should be able to share images with the appropriate authorities if requested
  • Don’t keep any CCTV images for longer than you need them
  • Don’t record conversations between members of the public
  • Don’t install CCTV in private places such as restrooms
  • Register as a CCTV operator with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

 

Home CCTV guidelines

Installing CCTV at home also comes with guidelines that you need to follow. These include:

  • Notify the neighbours of the cameras
  • Display a sign that clearly notifies people of the CCTV
  • Don’t record the conversations of members of the public
  • Don’t keep recordings longer than needed. Usually, 31 days is the standard
  • Only use the footage for security purposes

 

Conclusion

The use of CCTV is becoming more accepted both in business and at home. However, you do need to be aware of the rules that apply to both types of installation, and ensure they are followed for the relevant setting in which you have a CCTV system in place.

Contact the Firstford Ltd team today, and we will be pleased to give you further advice and guidance in relation to the CCTV systems or other security arrangements you may be considering for your business.

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3 Ways To Secure Your Home In 2022

There are many ways in which you can efficiently secure your home, especially in 2022. In the age of technology, we are seeing constant innovations and evolutions in security devices, protocols, and features, offering us a wide range of protective actions to choose from.

So, to help you sort through this long list, here are three of the best ways to improve security at your home in 2022.

Install a comprehensive security system

Thoroughly research all the security features that are available to you, and ascertain which ones would work best for you. This way, you can ensure that your domestic security systems in London are perfectly tailored to your personal security needs.

Numerous features can be used in conjunction with one another, operating via a wider system, or ‘smart home’. In doing so, your security system will cover a comprehensive range of operations, properly protecting every aspect of your home.

Ensure all vulnerable entry points are secured

Entry points are all the potential places where burglars could get into your home. These are the most vulnerable points of your home. Entry points include all doors and windows, even those that aren’t on the ground floor.

Ensure that all your locks are adequately maintained, and that all are secured whenever you leave the building. Move and store away any items from the perimeter of your property that could be used to aid access to upstairs entry points, such as ladders, tools, and bins.

Use (and advertise) visible deterrents

Invest in a number of deterrents that will discourage people from selecting your home for their next criminal activity – and make sure that everyone is aware of their presence. There is a wide variety of deterrents available to consider, including the following examples.

  • Lights

Keep your garden and yard as bright as possible to give burglars less opportunity to hide. Invest in motion-detected lights to startle any potential intruders before they have a chance to enter your home. This will be especially useful for when you aren’t going to be in the home, as the lighting will give the impression that the house isn’t vacant. To highlight how important this can be, burglary fell by 116 thousand to 267 thousand in 2020/21 during the height of the coronavirus lockdowns.

  • CCTV

 Even if you don’t have CCTV, the sight of cameras around your property can be enough to deter intruders from entering your property. Advertise the presence of cameras with signs that state clearly that your property is protected by CCTV.

  • Dog

Having a guard dog is a centuries-old security system! A property with a dog is less likely to get burgled as the criminals know the canine will likely disrupt their plans. However, of course, security should not be the only reason you get a dog. If you aren’t ready to make the commitment to keeping a pet, consider displaying a ‘beware of the dog’ sign on your property to fake it.

  • Fence

Install a tall fence that makes your yard seem impenetrable. As an extra deterrent, you might also opt for a fence that has spikes, spires, or wire on top to make it harder for someone to climb over.

And there you have it – three ways to ensure that your home is properly secured during 2022.

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Ways to prevent fire in warehouses & factories

 

It goes without saying that warehouses and factories can be dangerous working environments if the right health and safety procedures aren’t properly put in place. This can also be said for fire safety.

Warehouses and factories typically have greater potential fire risks than, say, a domestic property. Thus, it is important to put policies in place to help reduce the risk of fires and other emergency situations.

Let’s take a look at the legislation

In England and Wales, fire safety is covered by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In Scotland, requirements are set by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

For construction sites, enforcing this legislation falls to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). For all other premises, enforcement is the duty of local fire and rescue.

In all businesses, including warehouses and factories, it is the responsibility of the employer, owner, landlord, occupier and/or building manager to implement measures for compliance with fire safety regulations. These people are labelled as the ‘responsible person’, as set out in the relevant laws and legislation.

It is the duty of the ‘responsible person’ to carry out risk assessments, alert staff to potential risks, implement fire safety protocol, train staff in fire safety, and regularly review all of these processes.

Now that you know the legalities, let us take a look at some of the ways you can help prevent fire in factories and warehouses.

How can you minimise the risk and threat of fires in factories and warehouses?

  • Install fire detection systems

The first step for preventing fire is to install appropriate fire detection systems. Fire call points, fire extinguishers, and fire alarm installation are essential parts of every warehouse and factory. These systems will allow you to detect fire, alert everyone in the building, evacuate safely, and put out smaller fires when necessary.

  • Fire safety policies

Once you have the correct equipment and systems installed, you should implement an effective fire safety policy. Risk assessments should be carried out to determine and mitigate potential risks. You should then train all employees in what to do in the event of a fire or another emergency.

  • Check your equipment and electrics

One key part of your fire safety policy should be to ensure all equipment and electrics are regularly checked, tested, and maintained. Faulty electrics can cause a fire to break out if not fixed. Also, malfunctioning equipment may fail to detect and alert you in the case of a fire.

  • Declutter and dispose rubbish

Organise and declutter your inventory and stock so that it doesn’t touch anything that could ignite it, and ensure nothing blocks any emergency exits. Keeping your inventory to a minimum can also prevent fires from spreading quickly.

Once you have decluttered, or indeed if you accumulate rubbish on a daily basis, remember to dispose of your waste properly and regularly. It is good practice to place your bins at least a good few metres away from your building.

  • Security measures

Although in many cases fires can be accidental, it is important to note that some fires may be caused by criminal damage. To mitigate these circumstances, you should install comprehensive security systems at your warehouse or factory, reducing the risk of arson.

  • Dedicated smoking area

Factories and warehouses should not allow smoking inside. In some cases, it might also be dangerous to smoke too close to the building, for example if you manufacture and distribute things that could become explosive. In all situations, you should dedicate a specific area away from your building and waste disposal areas for your staff to smoke safely.

  • Properly maintain machinery

In addition to inspecting and maintaining your fire detection systems, you should take the same precautions with your machinery and equipment that is used on an everyday basis. The people that undertake those inspections should have the necessary experience and qualifications stipulated by the manufacturer.

  • Schedule routine inspections throughout the day

Depending on your risk assessments, and the appropriate actions, you should schedule routine inspections throughout the day at a frequency that is most effective for you. At the very least, trained staff should do a thorough inspection of the warehouse or factory at the end of the day before locking up to ensure that all electrical equipment is turned off, waste has been disposed of, and everything is properly stored ready to shut for the night.

Final thoughts

Overall, there are many ways that you can prevent fire in warehouses and factories, adhering to the relevant legislation on your obligations as an employer or other ‘responsible person’.

With these things in place, you will not only be able to reduce the risk of fire in your workplace, but also be prepared in the event that an emergency situation does occur.

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Five Handbag Safety Gadgets

In the past few months, personal safety has rapidly come to the forefront of people’s thoughts, especially concerning women. Although it would be ideal to live in a world where it wouldn’t be necessary, there are a few strategies that can help you to defend yourself against an attack, which can simply be drawn from your handbag.
But before we take a look at some ways you can protect yourself, let’s see what the statistics have to say about this growing epidemic of violence against women.

The facts

According to a report by the BBC earlier this year, in the past decade there were 2,075 female victims of killings in England and Wales alone. The report goes on to state that around 57% of these women were killed by someone they knew.
This tallies with data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which states that around one in three women worldwide have been subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetime. Globally, 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.
Due to this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) took the decision to survey people about their feelings of personal safety when walking alone, for the first time in history. This survey found that people were more worried about walking alone in the dark, especially women, and that two out of three women aged 16 to 34 have experienced some form of harassment in the past year.
Although these statistics are worrying, thankfully violence against women can be prevented. Some ways that you can help keep yourself safe include investing in domestic security in Essex and London, appearing confident, staying in well-lit areas, trying not to advertise your valuables, and staying alert. You can also consider keeping some safety gadgets in your handbag.
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most important handbag safety gadgets you should explore.

1. Panic button

A panic button can have an inbuilt GPS, so that if you are ever in trouble, it will know exactly where you are. Panic buttons typically work in conjunction with an app, where you can programme in emergency contacts. When you press the button, your chosen recipients will receive an instant message with your exact location. Panic buttons can also be bought disguised as other accessories, such as a necklace or bracelet, so as to not draw attention to themselves.

2. Personal alarm

A personal alarm, which might also be referred to as a ‘rape alarm’, is particularly useful for keeping clipped to your handbag, or even if you are heading out for a run. A button can be pressed, or a tab pulled, emitting a loud, high frequency noise, similar to the piercing sounds of an emergency vehicle siren.

3. Smartphone SOS feature

Both Apple and Android phones have in-built safety features.
If you are an Android user, head to your settings and select ‘Advanced features’. In this menu, you will find ‘Send SOS messages’. After entering this option, you will be able to choose emergency contacts to receive a message, and select whether you want to include automated pictures and audio recordings. To activate this feature, press the power button three times. Please note that steps may differ slightly depending on your OS version.
As for if you have an iPhone, you can add emergency contacts in the ‘Health app’. To activate emergency SOS, press and hold the side button and one Volume button until a slider appears. Drag the Emergency SOS slider, and this will automatically call the emergency services. After this, your emergency contacts will be notified of your exact location.

4. Location app

There are quite a few downloadable apps that are available for your smartphone to help you feel safe. For example, the free WalkSafe app allows you to send your location to emergency contacts, allowing them to track you as you make your journey. It also visualises crime reports so that you can plan your route around potential threats. You can add to these reports yourself by notifying the app of groups, drunks, burglars, assault, or even just areas that feel unsafe, have no lighting, or have restricted access.

5. Safety pen

These pens can look like your average ballpoint pen to the naked eye, but they are actually reinforced to make them tough enough to break glass. In more extreme situations if you find yourself locked in a car or next to a window, just grab this trusty pen from the bottom of your handbag, and break through the window in a matter of seconds.

Final thoughts

Overall, the devices you should keep in your handbag depend on your personal needs, and what you feel might help you the most. Even if you are never in a situation where you have to use them, these devices can help you to feel more comfortable and confident about walking home alone at night.

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How To Make Your Home Unattractive To Criminals

Any burglary can be a devastating loss, both financially and mentally. Being a victim of a burglary can have a significant impact on your mental health as well as your physical wealth.

 

Burglars, however, often have a list of things they look out for that indicates when a house is an attractive target or not. Here is a list of ways you can make your house less appealing to criminals:

 

Before Dark

Make sure all of your most valuable belongings are out of sight. These should include house keys, wallets, phones and jewellery

You might still feel at home when you’re in the garden for a few hours, but you’re not. Its very important to treat this as thought you are out and make sure all entrance points are locked.

Alarms are an effective deterrent and will let you know instantly if somebody is trying to get into your property. Consider investing in one of our commercial security systems, which can installed across your home to make you feel safe and secure.

You should also consider implementing GPS trackers or markers that include your postcode and address to your most valuable objects. Once these are in place, you can register for free at the UK national property register to keep a track of your objects if they are ever stolen.

 

After Dark

As long as it doesn’t effect your sleep and can still be managed in a cost affective fashion, consider leaving a light on somewhere downstairs or in at least one room upstairs so it looks like there is somebody inside even when there isn’t.

If you are frequently away from your home at night or on holiday, you can invest in timers or remote-activated controls that can turn your lights off on remotely using your phone.

Keep all rear access gates secured at night or if they are not in use as this is a very common method of entry for many burglars.

Keep all tools locked securely in your shed or in a safe place internally as many thieves will use your own tools to gain access to various parts of your home if given the chance.

One trick that burglars often use is for one burglar to distract you at the front door whilst their accomplice sneaks in through a separate access point. This is particularly common with elderly or vulnerable victims. Make sure that the only access point unlocked is at the front door and don’t allow anyone inside without asking for identification first. Thought even ID can be faked, so be very wary.

 

Additional Tips

If you have a security system installed, make sure it’s clearly visible and thus acts as a deterrent rather than a retrospective alarm.

A dog can be a surprisingly powerful deterrent so if you have one, make its presence felt, even if it is only a small breed.

Discuss having a neighbourhood watch system in place with your neighbours. Consider having a sign that acts as a deterrent. If the burglar thinks that they have to be avoided by everyone in the street rather than just you, the homeowner, this may put them off further.

Most of these tips require very little cost, time or effort but could make the crucial difference between a burglar deciding to target your home for their criminal behaviour. So, whether you are planning on investing in a commercial home security system or simply wish to do everything you can to deter burglars targeting your home, these tips can help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

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Can I get my fire alarm maintenanced?

It’s all well and good having a fire alarm installed at your property but if you are not having it serviced it could be a waste of time. Fire alarms alert occupants of a fire in time for everyone to get to safety, its so important how quickly you react to the situation, every second the fire will become more aggressive but with a fully functioning, serviced fire alarm you will be alerted at any indication of a fire, allowing for more time. Within this article we will talk about the maintenance of your fire alarm.

There are different types of fire alarms, manual and automatic. The manual system requires someone to activate the alarm achieved using a pull station or a call point which then sounds the alarm. Whereas the automatic system is activated automatically at the first sense of a fire via heat or smoke.

The most common causes of fire in workplaces are, faulty equipment such as loose wires, overheating, a messy work environment, human error and arson.

Fire alarm legal obligations

All premises in England and Wales which are used for non-domestic purposes must abide by the regulations set out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which covers all aspects. Commercial properties require fire alarms except from smaller premises who do not store high risk substances and if they are small enough to see a fire developing.

The regulations set out provide every effort is made to ensure a fire alarm is suitably maintained, regularly serviced by someone who is competent and certified within the industry standards. Someone who is competent is someone who has sufficient knowledge and understands the different types of alarms and how they work and a clear understanding of the legal requirements including the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Servicing an alarm is also an obligation for employers in order to keep their employees and workplace safe.

How often should a fire alarm be serviced?

The British standards set that inspection should be completed at least every 6 months. However, this is amplified for those in larger premises where there are multiple fire alarms meaning a higher risk of fire emergencies. There are two types of inspection which must take place, inspections by the responsible person and inspections by the professional trained engineer. The user inspections are carried out more regularly this being weekly and monthly however the in-depth tests are every 6 months.

As part of your testing, you should document the processes so that you are up to date in case of a visit from an authority and shows you are on top of your legal responsibilities. These include the date, time and cause of why your fire alarm was triggered, any faults found and what was done to repair them and finally any evacuation drills.

The common problems with fire alarms include the panel displaying a fault, panel making a sound, no power and the alarm sounding when there is no fire, this is when you should seek further assistance.

Overall, it is so important to be regularly testing your fire alarm to save lives and to abide by the legal requirements. If you are worried and require more assistance, contact fire system maintenance experts.

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