June 2014 Newsflash – Important Security Information
3rd July 2014
One merely has to read a newspaper or watch a news bulletin to see that the media is dominated by reports of increased criminal activity. Please read the following important information below, it may save your life;
PANICS, PASSWORDS and KEYHOLDERS:
In recent weeks, where clients have been faced with criminals on their premises, a number have had the opportunity to push a panic button resulting in a rapid response from our armed reaction division. Unfortunately, there have also been instances where clients have used their panic buttons incorrectly resulting in no signal being transmitted to our control centre. This is a direct result of faulty equipment or the incorrect use of the panic button.
As simple a task as it may seem, panic buttons, both fixed and remote need to be held in for between 2 – 3 seconds. In a domestic application where the siren will be audible, I encourage a user to depress the button until the siren is audibly triggered. This will indicate that the alarm has triggered a panic signal and if fully functional, send the signal to our control centre. For a business application, panic buttons are generally on silent as it is usually an armed robbery that is the cause for a panic activation. Again hold the panic button in for a full 3 seconds for it to trigger a signal.
A remote panic does not operate the same as a TV remote where it is lightly pushed to change a channel. Remote panic buttons do need to have their batteries replaced and even though the LED will illuminate, the signal strength may not be strong enough to be transmitted to the receiver on your control panel. Even with a fixed panic button, problems such as internal corrosion, cable damage etc. may also result in the signal not reaching the control panel.
It is absolutely imperative that your panic buttons, remote or fixed are tested at least once a month. This may be done, preferably between 9am – 4pm daily. Please contact our control room before testing, so that they are aware that there is a test being conducted and not a live activation, which would severely hamper response calls. Panic buttons work even when the alarm system is not switched on.
Each time you push a panic, it stores the signal. For example, if you continuously push a panic button, it will send multiple signals and block your landline whilst dialing out. 2 – 3 times is adequate.
As many burglaries occur during working hours when domestic premises are perceived to be unattended, it is often a domestic worker who may be confronted by an intruder. All domestic staff should be taught by the homeowner on the operation of a panic button, as our experience has shown that in many instances, the domestic staff are completely unaware that such a device even exists.
Please also note that if you see a criminal act being committed and your life is not in danger, it is always advisable to phone in your emergency as opposed to pushing a panic button as this will audibly trigger your alarm, alerting the criminals to the fact that they have been seen. Many of our best arrests are done when witnessed and our control room notified telephonically of this act. We would then have the element of surprise when arriving.
What happens when a panic is pushed??
If a panic button is pushed correctly and the system is fully functional, a panic signal will be sent from your control panel to our Base Stations in our control centre. Instantaneously the signal along with client information will appear on all monitoring screens of the control room operators. The control room operator will receive the panic signal and being a code 1 activation, accord it the highest priority signal. Immediately the nearest armed response vehicle is dispatched and a call back to the premises will be made.
The reason for the call to the premises is to try and ascertain what the emergency is. As in most instances, once a panic has been pushed and the siren triggered, the criminal element will often flee.
By making the call, the client could give valuable information to our control room operator regarding the persons / vehicles involved in the incident, so that the armed reaction vehicle dispatched does not simply drive past the suspects on the way to the activation.
On all panic activations, the dispatcher in the control room is instructed by the control room operator to dispatch the nearest armed reaction vehicle from where the signal has been received, so as to reduce the response time on a panic activation.
Should you as a client NOT be able to answer your phone on a panic activation the armed response WILL be dispatched to investigate, as panic activations, unlike alarm activations, do not false alarm and have to have been pushed by someone, even if in error. Should the control room phone the premises and an INCORRECT password given, the control room operator will simply say “thank you and goodbye”. The armed response however, will still be dispatched on all incorrect passwords given.
The importance of a password;
Your password is the single most important way of communicating that everything is in order. An incorrect password, as previously stated will result in the armed reaction being dispatched to your premises, as a password may be given under a duress situation with a criminal holding yourself in a hostage situation and listening to your conversation between yourself and the control room operator.
An incorrect password may be your only means of communicating to a control room operator that you are in need of help. Please ensure that all key holders and relevant persons that would operate the alarm system have the correct password. In previous years a double password system was used. One indicating all OK, the other indicating duress. This system proved problematic as most often during a duress situation, the wrong password would be given indicating that all was OK. Hence the use of a single password. Any deviation from this password would indicate duress, resulting in the armed response being dispatched.
Access Control and keyholders;
Various forms of access control have been discussed in previous newsletters. Kindly refer to our website at www.cbar.co.za for previous newsflashes, highlighting the issues with access control.
With regard to key holders / contact persons please note the following;
A key holder should be a person in a position of trust that has a knowledge of how to arm and disarm your alarm system, which may include family, friends or neighbours, or possibly for a business application, a manager or senior member of staff.
A key holder would also be privy to your password and would be appointed by yourself. This is put in place, so that during an emergency situation, when a primary key holder is unavailable or cannot be reached, this trusted key holder would be on our contact list. The expectation of this key holder, is that, irrespective of the time that they would be requested to attend to the premises for which they are appointed,would need to do so with the possibility of giving access to our armed reaction officers, who would then conduct a search of the premises.
Key holder information must be updated regularly, so that the control room operators have the correct persons to contact in the event of an alarm or panic activation.
All key holder updates will only be updated if sent in writing either by fax on 0860 151516 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. NO changes will be accepted telephonically!
Please inform your appointed key holders that they have a responsibility when they offer themselves up as a key holder and not negate this responsibility because it is cold and raining in the early hours of the morning and they do not wish to get out of bed.
Lastly, please ensure that the key holders actually have keys to the premises so that the armed reaction officers maybe given access. There are various electronic methods available to assist in access control into ones property. Kindly contact our sales or technical departments on 0860 151515 for advice or assistance.
CBAR also does installations of CCTV and intercom systems.
Visit our website on www.cbar.co.za for all current incidents and statistics.
CBAR, 24 hours a day, only minutes away!
Kind regards and best wishes.
Alan Kusevitsky and the CBAR Team