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Tackling Self-Storage Security Installation: What Facility Operators Should Know

John Fogg Comments
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Wiring Your System

Wire is the lifeline of your security system. Manufacturers of security components and systems specify the wire size and type to be used for their products. Not following these specifications risks voiding the warranty, compromising the integrity of the system and costly re-wires later. Separate wire is needed for different security devices including keypads or readers, intercoms, cameras, and power and gate triggers.

When installing the intercom system, be sure to use the wire specified by the manufacturer. Also consider placement in general. Intercoms are more susceptible to noise or interference than other devices. Factors such as high-line wires in the area can cause static in the intercom. This holds true for lights in hallways as well. Be sure to ask and follow supplier recommendations. In some cases, it may be impossible to eliminate all static.
Installing Cameras

Cameras should be installed strategically throughout the property. The amount of coverage desired will dictate the number of cameras. Outdoor cameras should be mounted in an environmental enclosure with blower and heater.

Hallways should have cameras for security and safety reasons. If this is not possible, at least put cameras at each access point to hallways. Cameras in the office need not be mounted in enclosures. Keep in mind that each camera will have its own wire running back to the digital video recorder (DVR).

Use proper connectors to join and terminate wires. A good supplier will not only specify the type to use, but will provide them as part of an outfit.
Setting Up the System

Your security-installation professional should be the one who ties in the system devices and brings them operational. Cameras will connect to a DVR and should be programmed to record when there is motion in the field of view. Monitoring camera activity from another location is possible through this device. Your installer should be able to demonstrate how to review what has been previously recorded.

In the case of access and alarm systems, the manufacturer may do some of the programming. The operation may be customized based on how you run your site. Items to consider include: 

  • Access-hour time zones
  • Access levels to different sections of the property
  • Control of access doors
  • Number of keypads
  • Elevator and lighting control
  • Individual unit numbers for door alarms

Once this information is provided to the supplier, it can be preset in the system. Of course, any changes or additions may be made later at the site. The gate and motor should be fully operational, with keypad or card-reader access system connected and working. The security installer also should supply a quality owner’s manual upon completion of the work.

Following these guidelines and manufacturers’ recommendations should result in a smooth running self-storage operation. Once completed, you may use your overall security strategy to market your development. Studies show that a fully functional security system attracts self-storage clients.
John Fogg has been involved in the self-storage industry since 1986. He has worked for Sentinel Systems Corp., a manufacturer of self-storage security systems, since 1993. He previously worked in upper management and operations for several self-storage companies. To reach him, call 800.456.9955, ext. 405; e-mail; visit

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