By Chester Gilliam
There are a lot of new security products and services available to meet the needs of self-storage facilities. Whether you’re looking to upgrade or repair an existing system or just find something new, security manufacturers are there to help. Here are some exciting new products that can enhance your site.
Wireless Loop-Detection Systems
One of the biggest security problems I see at self-storage facilities relates to gate safety and free-exit loops. The gate area gets a lot of traffic, and the pavement is prone to cracking, regardless of whether it’s asphalt or concrete. In the past, facility operators were left with little remedy for damaged loops. They often had to wait until repairs were made to the driveway before they could replace a loop. There’s now a wireless solution for this very common problem.
Access One Technologies offers a wireless loop-detector system that consists of a battery-powered driveway “puck” and a receiver mounted in the gate operator. The puck only requires a two-foot hole and has a battery life of two years. You simply drill a hole in the drive, drop in the puck, seal over the hole, and then add the receiver to the gate operator. As many as four pucks can report to a single receiver, making it possible to accommodate safety loops and free-exit loops.
When it comes to securing your property, the fence line is critical. While we can use photo beams and sophisticated camera systems, these are expensive and sometimes a real challenge to install and maintain. Integrated Security Corp. has developed a cost-effective solution: its HYDRA system, which consists of battery-powered detection units that report via wireless transmission to a control panel. It can then can be programmed to do any number of things, such as interface with an alarm system, set off sirens, turn on lights, or notify you of an attempted break-in.
What makes this system unique is it uses two technologies to determine if there’s a security breach, and it can be easily installed requiring no infrastructure. The units are mounted on the fence sections and use a motion-detection and vibration-monitoring system to help eliminate false alarms. Both have to be activated before the system goes into alarm mode. You can protect as much of your fence line as necessary and easily expand the system at any time by simply adding more sensors.
Another product that can enhance your perimeter is a low-voltage lighting system. In the past, these consisted of cheap units that gave a slight glow at best. Cast Lighting LLC has now engineered an impressive system made from cast aluminum. The lights that are durable, offer a large lighting pattern, and are designed to be spaced along a fence line at 20- to 30-foot intervals. The system uses a low-voltage transformer just like landscape lighting. Each light has to be wired into the system, but this isn’t a deal-killer, as the system is easy to install.
Additionally, if you buy the kits, they include everything you need. While the lights are intended to be mounted on a chain-link fence, they’re easily adaptable to any type of enclosure. These are commercial-grade units, not the cheap ones found at your local DIY store.
One of the biggest improvements in security systems is wireless transmission, and this carries over to cameras as well as other products. In the not to distant past, wireless-camera systems were not only cost-prohibitive, they offered poor image quality. With the decreasing cost of IP cameras and radio systems, it’s now feasible to install quality cameras and send video back to the office via wireless radio.
This type of system can actually be created at less cost than a wired version. You can keep your existing hardwired cameras and use the same digital video recorder (DVR), and then add another recording device called a network video recorder. Another option would be to change to a newer system using a hybrid recorder, one that can handle analog and IP cameras.
If you’ve wanted to add cameras to your site but don’t have conduits in place, all is not lost. Wireless radio allows you to add cameras without sacrificing performance. You can choose from a variety of cameras and systems, and even if you don’t have a power source where you want to place your cameras, you can add a solar-power unit. These systems have become more affordable and reliable, and they give you flexibility in terms of placement.
These are only a few of the many new products that are exceptionally well-suited for the self-storage industry. Just as with all other aspects of your site, you need to keep up with what’s available and will enhance your business to prospective tenants. Don’t let your customers or competition stay ahead of you. Contact your security-systems integrator and ask for a site overview.
Chester A. Gilliam is the owner of Wizard Works Security Systems Inc. in Castle Rock, Colo. He holds certifications in the design and installation of automated-gate systems as well as numerous certifications in video-system and access-control system design and installation. To reach him, call 303.798.5337; e-mail email@example.com.