Fire safety and security tips from Contact Fire & Security
Prospective and existing clients often come to us for advice regarding many different aspects of fire safety and security. While we are always more than happy to help, and welcome any enquiry via phone, email or social media, to save time we've prepared answers to the key questions we most commonly receive. If you do not find the information you're looking for, please don't hesitate to get in touch, either in the comments or via any of the methods mentioned above.
Can I View My CCTV System Remotely?
Remote monitoring is one of the key advantages modern digital CCTV systems. Once your state of the art CCTV has been installed, you will be able to view CCTV footage remotely in real time from wherever you happen to be via your smartphone, tablet or laptop using an easy to use online interface. For added peace of mind, you can also instruct a specialist CCTV monitoring service to monitor your system for you, contacting you, your nominated person or the relevant emergency service in the event that any issues should arise.
What does 'IP' stand for?
The acronym 'IP' stands for 'Internet Protocol'. In essence, this simply means that the camera system in question operates using network connectivity.
Are all network IP cameras the same?
IP cameras come in varying resolution, lens quality and smart applications built-in. The minimum resolution standard you should now expect from an IP CCTV system would be 1080p HD resolution. We now offer 4K resolution CCTV and you can even get cameras with 3 times the resolution of these to use to cover large areas like sports stadiums or car parks. The resolution you require very much depends on the objective of the camera so please speak to one of our technical staff to talk you through the various options.
Why is there such a big difference in price for CCTV systems on the internet
Will my CCTV cameras work well at night?
The ability to film in low light conditions or even complete darkness is essential for many CCTV applications. Part of the that ability is down to using the right electronics which are sensitive enough to work in low light, the other tool used is infra red or IR lighting. Previously cameras had separate infra red light lamps bolted onto the side of their housings. It made the whole unit very large and industrial looking. In more recent times cameras have been designed with IR lighting built into them. This greatly reduces their overall size and visual impact. It also reduces cost when compared to modular cameras using separate lighting units. When IR cameras are working at night the images are black and white.
Using our “lightcatcher” technology we can produce colour video images in almost pitch black. However, using this technology can limit the resolution of cameras to around 1080p at the time of writing.
How does my CCTV record and how long can I keep the recordings?
Gone are the days when you had to record CCTV using a VHS recorder. We now use something called an NVR (Network Video Recorder) which is basically a computer to archive recorded footage activated by motion or video analytic events. The length of time you keep the footage for depends on the size of your hard drive but generally we recommend retaining the footage for 31 days. You can always export recorded footage using a USB stick to keep on your computer on the USB stick.
What are the other used for CCTV rather than just recording footage for security?
CCTV can be used as an effective operations monitoring tool to optimise business processes. For example; installing cameras along a production line to monitor staff movements and machine outputs.
CCTV can be used to provide visual backup that certain items were packed in an order sent to a customer if there was ever a dispute that items weren’t included in their package.
CCTV can be used to proactively notify you of unusual activity on certain cameras utilising built in video analytics. For example a vehicle is parked on the side of a busy road, someone has climbed on a roof or a person walked into an area where they are not authorised to do so while machinery is in operation.
There are many possible uses for CCTV. Speak to one of our expert consultants, we’ll ask you questions about your business to see how CCTV could benefit your organisation and even provide a measurable return on investment.
How do I know if I need a fire alarm system?
Current UK fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’.
This basically means that an outbreak of fire can easily be detected and occupants can easily be warned.
This does not necessarily mean that all business premises will need a fire alarm system.
You are unlikely to need a fire alarm system if all of the following statements are true:
- Your premises are small, simple, and single-storey or open-plan
- You don’t store any high-risk substances, such as chemicals
- You don’t undertake any high-risk activities, such as cooking
- You don’t have any vulnerable occupants, such as the very young, elderly or disabled
- A fire would be easily spotted if it broke out anywhere in the premises
- A shout of ‘fire!’ would be easily heard by all occupants
- If one or more of these statements does not apply to your business, then you probably need a fire alarm system.
If you are in any doubt, then your Fire Risk Assessment should specifically state whether you should or shouldn’t install automatic fire detection.
If you don’t have a Fire Risk Assessment then we would recommend you carry one out first, as this is the cornerstone of your business’s fire safety plan.
The risk assessment will make recommendations as to the category and grade of system you will require.
How do I know if I need to increase/update my fire and security system?
Businesses and other organisations can identify any shortcomings in their fire protection system by commissioning a Fire Risk Assessment when moving into new premises or if any significant changes have taken place within the property. This is a legal requirement, and it is recommended practice to schedule assessments on at least an annual basis. All smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years or as per the manufacturers recommendations so if your system is over 10 years old then you probably need new detectors at least. As experts in both areas, Contact Fire & Security can also assess your business's security requirements.
How do I choose a fire alarm installer?
UK fire alarm regulations make no requirement as to who can install a fire alarm, other than that they must be ‘competent’. However, it’s important to make sure that the company you are choosing has experience installing systems for your type of business and can provide you with references. There is also added peace of mind in choosing installers that have an LPS1014 and BAFE accreditation.
All BAFE and LPS1014 registered fire protection companies have chosen to be independently assessed and therefore proving their competence in their area of fire protection. This provides a benchmark for quality and the ability to provide you with an independent third party certificate of conformity, positioning you as the Responsible Person having provided the best fire safety for your building, staff and others.
How do I know if I need an intruder alarm system?
Intruder Alarm systems are generally for peace of mind, to protect and deter against intruders. However, your home or business may be required to have an intruder alarm system to reduce your premiums or to enable them to insure you at all. We would recommend checking with your insurers to see if they have any requirements or recommendations before making a choice on your intruder alarm system.
Do burglar alarms cope with pets?
While there is a slight possibility that your alarm will be set off by a domestic animal, intruder alarms are designed to keep this to an absolute minimum. Advanced intruder alarm systems have special features to make pet related false alarms even less likely.
Do I get police response with my intruder alarms?
Intruder alarms which connect directly to an operator who will contact your local police switchboard are available. Alternatively, your intruder alarm can connect with you or your nominated person or monitoring service. In any case, it has been proven that your home or business will be up to 80% safer if you have an intruder alarm system installed.
How do I know if my alarm has been set off whilst I’m away?
You can access your intruder alarm system via a a smartphone app from wherever you have access to the internet which will also send push notifications if your alarm activates. If you have your system monitored then the monitoring station will notify you
How do I monitor my house security on the go?
To allow our customers to monitor their home security from wherever they happen to be at any given moment, we have developed HomeControl+, an ingenious app which enables you to easily monitor and manage your home security system using your smartphone.
How do I know I have the right security systems in place?
In theory, your security system should have been selected on the basis of its suitability for the location in which it is in operation. In practice, this is often not the case, so if you have any concerns about the security system at your property, contact us for a free assessment and report on our findings.
What would a break-in cost?
The cost of a break-in depends on many factors including the amount of damage caused, the value of any stolen goods or property, and the level to which your business is insured. Also, consider whether the business can still continue to trade after a break in and the cost of the loss of trading in both sales and reputation.
The least expensive break-in, however, is one which terminates before any significant damage or theft takes place, which is why our market leading security systems represent such an excellent investment.
What does 'NSI Gold' mean?
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) issue two levels of security accreditation. Gold is the highest, and is recognised across the security industry and the emergency services as the 'gold standard' in security.
How do I know I’m legally compliant?
In addition to carrying out your mandatory fire assessments, we can advise you on how best to follow the relevant fire safety guidelines to ensure your business or organisation remains fully compliant at all times.