Are your security systems ready for power blackouts this summer?

There have been many warnings about the possibility of power blackouts in Australia this coming summer so now is a good time to check that your security systems won’t fail if blackouts occur.

These are a few things to consider:

  1. When is the last time that the batteries were changed in field control equipment? If the security systems are being maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 2201.1:2007 Intruder alarm systems, then each battery will be legibly and durably marked with the month and year of installation.
  2. When is the last time that access control and security alarm systems were tested on battery power alone for an extended period? If the batteries are to maintain power to their associated equipment for eight hours, then the test should be for this period. When batteries fail, access control doors unlock.
  3. When is the last time the UPS was tested? The only true test is to shut off power to the building in a controlled manner and see that everything still operates. Switching off the input power to the UPS alone will not identify if any equipment has been incorrectly connected to non-UPS power.
  4. When is the last time that generator power was tested and refueled? Generators often fail when they have insufficient fuel.
  5. If a power outage extends for a longer period than batteries, UPS and /or generators have been designed for, what are the contingency plans for events such as electrically locked doors unlocking, camera surveillance turning off, alarm systems failing etc.? How are the assets and information within the facility to be protected? Providing security guards may be a response, but if an extended power blackout is widespread, then the demand for guards may be higher than the available supply.
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Author: Simon Walker

Simon established Connley Walker Pty Ltd in 1996. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Registered Building Practitioner, a Member to the Australian Institute of Project Management, a Registered International Professional Engineer, a Registered APEC Engineer and an SCEC Endorsed Security Zone Consultant. He is the author of the books Operational risk management: Controlling opportunities and threats, 2001 ISBN 0957907400 and Hospital and Health Care Security in Australia, 2009 ISBN 978-0-9579074-1-6.