Self-Storage Security System Triumphs and Failures: Stories From Facility Operators

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The first year we were open, we had so many malfunctions with the alarms I decided to take the class and become a tech myself. Now when there is a problem with the alarms, I can fix it. Whether it's thousands of alarms going off at 3 a.m. and the police call me, or it's a keypad freezing up in the middle of a blizzard, we don't have to wait around for the alarm company all day.

The most important thing to remember, though, is to keep spare parts such as door alarms and circuit boards on hand, because these things can become backordered for weeks or even months!
~Senior Member MZC&D

Years ago, we installed battery backups for the computer running the security system, as well as the 13.8 DC-volt alarm system. Then we went to an LP gas-powered generator so we could operate continuously when the power went out. In our area, power outages occur about every two months. Some outages are short and some take up to 24 hours.

We’ve become experts at replacing DSBs [dual sense bars] for the alarms and fuses for the gates, keypads and individual door alarms. We have a couple of backup keypads, keypad interfaces and DSBs. For the video system, it's pretty easy to purchase backup cameras, as the most recent changes have been to the dome-type cameras that cost less than $70 compared to the boxed cameras that cost $400. So we have many spares. The DVRs can be purchased and shipped virtually overnight, so we don't have any extras of those. We only need to call the reliable alarm tech when we get thoroughly stumped. He really doesn't make much money on service calls to our facility.

In summary, battery and generator backups keep us going. Redundant parts make it pretty easy to diagnose a problem by simply swapping parts 'til something works.
~Senior Member BobInIndy

Thieves like to steal desktop computers in hopes they can find credit card information, which they can then use to make fraudulent purchases. Of course, what they don't know is that with cloud computing and PCI-compliance, those numbers aren't on the hard drives. This reinstates the importance in our areas to be extremely careful with credit card data and ensure it is password-protected and never written down in full or in e-mail archive. Operators have also begun securing their servers in security closet rooms so there is just a simplified workstation at the rental desk.
~Moderator Madman

No problems so far. I'm just preparing for events. We added e-mail data backup to our house at each close of day. When closing, our data is e-mailed. At any time, if wind or fire or theft happens, I would just bring our backup computer from my house and reload last night’s data. Five [minutes] and it is done. The operating program is already installed and ready to go.

To reduce the possibility of theft, we are looking into battery-powered intruder alerts that go into individual units. They have added 10,000 codes, so the remotes will only work with one unit and not affect surrounding units.

If customers want an alarm, they pay, not us. It costs us about $22, and we sell them for more. We are also going to offer some magnetic signs that say "Warning: loud alarm inside." It seems that it should discourage the attempt to enter if the thief knows there will be a noise. Low-tech, low price bought by any person that feels he wants additional security. Not my equipment, not my batteries, so I can't be responsible. When they leave, they take their alarm home.
~Member lenmay

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