Safety at home

WHEN DO YOU NEED AN ELECTRIC FENCE CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE

An Electric Fence Certificate is required by law under the Health and Safety Act 1993 in accordance with regulation 12(4) and 13(1) of the Electric Machinery Regulations, 2011.  The standards are set out in the latest SANS 10222-3 Version 5.

An Electric Fence Certificate is your proof that your fence is legally compliant and safe and has been installed according to the above laws. At the bottom of the Electric Fence Certificate (EFC) it will have a place for the new owner to sign thereby agreeing to maintain and look after the electric fence.

The short and simple version for when you need an Electric Fence Certificate is as follows:

  • Any new installation of an Electric Fence after 2012
  • If a fence was installed before 2012 and the property is being sold
  • If there was no change of ownership but there has been an alteration or modification to an electric fence after 1 October 2012, even if it was installed before 1 October 2012
  • If you are upgrading your electric fence by adding new sections or increasing the strands on your fence
  • If you are replacing an Energizer with a new Energizer or moving the Energizer from one position to another
  • If you are selling your property, be it a residential, a complex or office block
  • Change in ownership of property

KEEPING YOUR HOME SAFE : ELECTRIC FENCES

You have to admit, the thought of having a large croc infested moat around your home is a little appealing. Even better, if that moat was electrified and couldn’t be penetrated by criminals. The next best thing? An electric fence.

When someone makes contact with the fence, a circuit is completed and the fence delivers a short, sharp pulse of energy. This pulse is what delivers the shock.

Electric fences are all the rage in many South African suburbs, and it’s becoming increasingly rare to find a street that doesn’t have a home surrounded by one. But is an electric fence really worth the money? Do they keep criminals out? How do they work?

How does an electric fence work? 

An electric fence converts power from a battery, the sun or your mains into a high voltage pulse.

When someone makes contact with the fence, a circuit is completed and the fence delivers a short, sharp pulse of energy. This pulse is what delivers the shock.

The delivered shock, however, is not lethal, but is highly unpleasant. The voltage that is legally allowed to pass through electric fences is capped at 10 000 volts, but the effect that the intruder experiences depends on a number of factors. Suffice it to say that an intruder can get a nasty shock from an electric fence.

Electric fences are usually connected to an alarm and to the services of a private security company. Should the perimeter be breached, an alarm will sound and the security company will dispatch their armed response team.

An electric fence should not be your only defence, but it is another layer of protection between yourself and the bad guys.

Does an electric fence really keep criminals out? 

An electric fence around your property looks and sounds imposing. The average criminal is an opportunist looking for an easy target.

An electric fence protects you in a few different ways. First, the sight of an electric fence is intimidating. Even more so when you are up close and can hear the current buzzing through it.

If the criminal is ‘brave’ enough to continue, they’ll have to deal with the electric shock they’ll receive when they make contact with the fence. If this still isn’t enough, your alarm would have sounded and the security company would already have a response team high tailing towards your home to apprehend the criminal. This, all before they have even made it to the front door.

But not everyone is convinced that electric fences are effective. They feel that it is possible that the mere presence of an electric fence signals to thieves that you have stuff worth stealing. If a thief is determined enough, nothing will stop them. An electric fence should not be your only defence, but it is another layer of protection between yourself and the bad guys.

As far as home security measures go, an electric fence is surprisingly affordable. People who have installed electric fences say they barely notice a difference in their electricity bill.

Electric fences: a buyer’s guide 

As far as home security measures go, an electric fence is surprisingly affordable. People who have installed electric fences say they barely notice a difference in their electricity bill.

Choose your installer carefully and ensure that your electric fence complies with current regulations. You’ll need a certificate of compliance and clear warnings visible from the pavement and driveway.

We may not be able to surround our homes with moats these days, but we can put an extra layer of protection around ourselves.

You’ll sleep more soundly to the faint hum of an electric fence around your home, safe in the knowledge that there are 10 000 volts waiting for any villains. That’s some shockingly good security.

MAINTAINING YOUR CCTV SECURITY SYSTEM

Following these tips will ensure that your CCTV system does not become an ineffective security measure. By maintaining it in the correct manner you will be sure to achieve the desired video surveillance results whilst also extending the lifespan of your system.

Ensure the system displays correct date and time – power outages or network disruptions may make it necessary for the time and date to be reset.

 

By using uninterrupted power supply (UPS) instead of regular power supply, the system can still work even if it encounters power outage. Periodically check your UPS status to ensure the battery is fully charged and doesn’t show any warning lights.

 

Set a weekly reminder to check on your camera systems ability to record. Resolve any errors in the system timeously to avoid finding that you do not have footage when a security incident occurs. Generally recording of footage will loop once the HDU has reached capacity. Ensure that the HDU installed in the DVR is large enough to accommodate approximately 1 months’ worth of footage. You may wish to periodically backup data to free up space on the HDU.

 

The DVR may accumulate a layer of dust over time which should be wiped off regularly to prevent it from affecting the recorder’s performance. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe your DVR and/or blower to dust from the crevices.

 

Keep your camera housings clean and free from bird droppings. Checks should be done on joints and seals to ensure that there is no corrosion or seepage of water into camera housing resulting in internal humidity affecting image quality.



 

Accumulated dirt or dust on your camera lens will result in deterioration of image quality. Using compressed air, blow the lens and remove all loose debris before using microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt on camera’s lens. A microfiber cloth is made specifically for cleaning the glass surface on camera lenses so as to avoid scratching the lens.

 

Check all connectors for signs of corrosion and replace to avoid shorting out of equipment. Check the quality of the wiring cables making sure the core wires are not corroded. Corroded cable will degrade your image quality resulting in unstable video transmission.

 

 

Regular checks should be done to ensure optimum location and camera focus. Add or relocate cameras if circumstances change. Cameras covering street views are of assistance when identifying suspects entry and exit points.

 

Ensuring that all important areas have sufficient lighting to illuminate suspects for easy identification.

Check all outdoor camera views to ensure that they provide a clear view. Keep bushes, creepers, trees and other plants near the cameras trimmed back to prevent them from obstructing the camera line of sight.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE, SECURE AND SERENE

Your home is a space where you should feel comfortable. It is, after all, where you spend a large portion of your life enjoying down time, eating, sleeping, and creating many happy memories with loved ones. Your home should be a haven where you can relax and unwind, and not somewhere you feel under potential threat.

You can find a wide variety of home security camera systems online or in hardware stores. You can set these up yourself, or there are companies that will set them up for you. Depending on the brand and model you opt for, these systems offer a range of features, including night vision, motion sensors, sound and Wi-Fi capability. Typically, cameras at a higher price point might boast a higher resolution.

Many of these camera systems enable you to monitor movements around your home from a computer or smartphone. Even if you never experience an incident personally, footage from outside your home can be useful to the Bedfordview CPF should an incident occur in your street.

In addition, it is wise to have an intercom in front of your home so you are not opening your door directly to strangers.

In South Africa, homes are generally equipped with basic safety measures such as security gates, burglar bars and alarm systems. In fact, some insurance companies won’t cover you unless your home is equipped with these standard features.

Be sure to check that all potential entry points to your property are secure. You might think that no one could get through a small window, but you’d be surprised how many burglaries occur through even the smallest spaces. These days, there are clear strips that you can install yourself which are less unsightly than some other options. Or, if you don’t want burglar bars, there are companies which install lockable shutters that look great and protect your home.

With alarm systems connected to an armed response service, not only are you safe in the knowledge that someone will be at your property within minutes, but the noise of the alarm is a deterrent in itself. But an alarm can also be as simple as placing noisy gravel outside your home – something that will alert you when you hear it. If you have an electric fence, it’s also recommended to link it to your alarm.

Security isn’t all about fancy equipment. Rather, it’s about equipping yourself with all the tools at your disposal to ensure that your personal space is as safe as it can be.

This can be as simple as getting to know your neighbours. People in an area keeping an eye out for each other is proven to boost security and your own personal feeling of safety. It helps to know your neighbours in a crisis, especially if you can easily reach out on a chat group if you need help. They will also be more aware of any strange incidents occurring around your home if they know who you are and your general day-to-day movements.

Seriously consider joining the Bedfordview CPF as in most cases the first responder to a crime will be your neighbourhood CPF. The Bedfordview CPF have social media pages and Whatsapp groups so that you are kept informed of what is happening around you as and when it happens.

It’s recommended that you have high fences and walls to reduce visibility into your property and gates with robust locks. Security sensor lights are also a great deterrent as once a criminal is lit up, they tend not to hang around.

Dogs can also act as excellent deterrents, but, unfortunately, if you let your dog sleep outside you run the risk of them being poisoned to neutralise them during an attempted burglary. Rather keep your four legged friend inside at night.

When making your home a haven for yourself and your family, you are also adding value in the long term.

Festive Season Security Tips

Statistics clearly show that criminal activity increases during the holiday season and it is therefore imperative for residents to take the right precautions and not let their guard down.

Here are some security tips to bear in mind which can help alleviate the risk to family and property.

  • Ensure that your alarm is in working order. We tend to forget that an alarm system, like a car, has parts that age and wear out and therefore should be serviced at least once a year.
  • Thunderstorms can wreak havoc on alarm systems. Regularly check alarm systems for lightning damage.
  • Ensure that you have a battery backup on your alarm system that will keep it powered during load shedding.
  • Residents should test their alarms at least three weeks before going on holiday. Testing should be done anytime (ideally between 08h00 and 20h00 hours Mon-Fri) and if a fault is discovered, it can be immediately reported to the security service provider’s technical team.
  • Advise your security company if you are going away and ensure that you supply all the necessary information regarding nearby emergency contacts.
  • Inform your neighbours of your holiday plans so that they can keep an eye on your property.
  • Stop all newspaper deliveries and ask a friend or neighbour to collect your post. A bulging post box is a real giveaway that you are not at home.
  • If hiring a house sitter, ensure that you teach them how to use your alarm correctly.
  • Double check that you have locked and secured all windows and doors before leaving home.
  • Ensure that all your outside locks are a minimum of four lever locks or double cylinder security locks.
  • Never leave a key in the inside of an outer door which has glass panels or glass near the door lock.
  • Having security gates fitted on outer doors is a highly effective security measure that gives you an extra line of defence.
  • Sliding doors can be secured simply by placing a piece of timber cut to size in the sliding rail. Make sure that sliding doors cannot be lifted vertically.
  • Full fencing and sturdy gates are a good deterrent.
  • Have good exterior lighting, preferably on a timer.
  • Do not leave ladders, spades or tools outside, as they can be used to break into your house.
  • Clear signage indicating that you have security also helps to discourage burglars.
  • Be discreet when preparing to go away. People should, where possible, pack their cars in their garage.

The festive season should be a time of relaxation and giving but let’s ensure that we are not giving our belongings to criminals on a golden platter.