Swansea business owners need to prepare carefully before leaving their premises empty over the Christmas break.
This is the season for celebrating, but business owners must ensure they have everything in place before they break up for the holidays. Dan Hardman from CCTV Wales is stressing that empty business properties are a magnet for opportunist thieves, so taking time to prepare for the shutdown is vital. And it’s not just security that business owners need to be concerned about, protecting your property against fire and flooding is important too.
Here are his top tips for keeping your premises safe and secure over the Christmas break.
Tip 1 – Check all Cover and Systems
It’s important to ensure that all gates, doors and windows are fitted with secure locks, and that your intruder and fire alarms are working correctly.
If the business has a manned security presence then make sure that the cover is in place, ensure security systems work and get your alarm company to walk-test the system to ensure all detectors are functioning correctly.
You should also make sure that your detectors are not covered in dust or debris.
Conduct a CCTV system health check, make sure images are of good quality and time and date set correctly. Make sure you have prominent CCTV signage as this has a deterrent value.
You should also check external security lighting is working correctly and is bright enough for any CCTV images.
Tip 2 – Let people know you’ll be closed
Tell any neighbouring businesses that you’ll be closed over the festive period, and ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
Make sure that emergency contacts and call out details for key staff are correct and up to date.
Tip 3 – The Lights Are On
During the break, you should also make sure that your premises appear to be occupied or that they are at least being visited regularly. The best option is to fit timers to your lighting systems so you can alter the times and locations of lights going on and off.
Try not to illuminate areas of the building/yard that have little or no surveillance prospects as this could aid a thief.
Tip 4 – Protect Cash and Valuables
If you have to have cash at the premises use an approved insurance-rated cash container which is rated to the value of the contents. Make sure the cash container is out of sight and correctly and securely installed.
Wherever possible make sure any high value items are kept out of sight of ground floor windows.
You should also ensure that external yards are left tidy and, if possible, bring in equipment and materials that you might otherwise leave outside which may be stolen or used in crime.
If vehicles are being left on site ensure they have been emptied of tools, fuel and materials also locked and that the keys have been left in the safe or taken off site.
Tip 5 – Don’t let your building freeze
Frozen and burst pipes can cause extensive damage to premises, with a small leak easily becoming a major burst destroying equipment, floors and ceilings, with everything from stock, machinery, tools and computers being ruined beyond repair.
If your building is going to be unoccupied, keep your heating system on as though it’s business as usual, but just turn down the thermostat. This will ensure that even in freezing conditions, the heating will come on preventing the water in your pipes from freezing and eventually bursting.
Tip 6 – Reducing Fire Risk
Even before you shut down for Christmas, ensure fire escape routes are not blocked with extra Christmas stock and be aware about storing combustible materials which can block fire exits. You should also check that all your fire extinguishers are in working order.
Check out this video by Dan Hardman from CCTV Wales on the importance of ensuring fire extinguishers are checked regularly:
Reduce the risk of arson by securing materials such as timber, fuels, packaging, cardboard and waste paper. You should also carry out a fire risk assessment, taking into account the fact that the premises is going to be empty for a period of time. This assessment should include inspecting fire alarms, emergency lighting, and firefighting equipment.
Ensure that outbuildings are secured and graffiti, if present, should be removed in good time for the close-down as graffiti tags often attract further attacks.
Tip 7 – Double check your cover
Before you head off for your Christmas celebrations, make sure your insurance cover is up-to-date – you don’t want to come back from your holiday to find disaster has struck and then on top of that, discover you’re not covered.
Tip 8 – Final Shut Down
Assign the responsibility for the final security inspection to a senior member of staff. It may be helpful to produce a locking up checklist and routine to aid the person responsible so nothing is missed.
As the last person leaves, make sure the building is properly secured and alarm set. Close and lock all windows, including roof lights and secondary exit doors and pull down and lock any shutters and or grilles.
Lastly, make a final check of the perimeter fence and make sure any gates within it have been locked and secured.
If you don’t have these systems in place or aren’t clear about how to ensure your business premises is safe and secure, call the team at CCTV Wales today on the number below: