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News

Winter check-list for CCTV installations

RemGuard Visual Management, : 16 September, 2009  (Technical Article)
Users of remotely monitored CCTV surveillance installations are advised to follow the five tips given by RemGuard for trouble free operations throughout the winter months
Winter check-list for CCTV installations
RemGuard Visual Management - part of AD Group - is urging users of remotely monitored, detector activated, CCTV to follow a simple five point winter 'healthcheck' of their sites, to stay safe and secure, as the nights draw in and Britain's weather becomes even more unpredictable.

Said Alan Collinge, Operations Director at RemGuard: 'A few simple checks now can avoid headaches later. Undoubtedly, winter is a challenge for any sort of equipment. Just as you would have your car or boiler inspected, in anticipation of more challenging conditions, so it makes sense to do the same for remotely monitored CCTV. The good news is that by paying attention to a few critical areas, from lighting to foliage, the monitoring of sites should run smoothly even in the depths of winter, without incidents being missed or unnecessary activations.'

The top five areas to focus attention on this winter include:

1 Windy Weather - Naturally sites should be kept as tidy as possible and trees/bushes under control. Polythene sheeting blowing around in the wind can set-off beams triggering constant activations as can overgrown foliage. The last thing anyone wants is a piece of unsecured tarpaulin flying around a yard, setting off one detector after another as it swirls around in the wind - thankfully this is very much the exception rather than the rule.

2 An Illuminating Experience - With the hours of darkness increasing day by day lighting becomes ever more critical. Sites should be illuminated properly, having vital areas of a site in darkness is far from ideal and, by the same token too much light in the wrong place, for instance shining directly into cameras blinding them is not advisable. For event-driven CCTV it is better if the detectors associated with remote monitoring are used to drive the illumination. If an intruder is detected this approach means that adjacent lights can be turned on remotely to illuminate a camera's field of view - a key consideration in BS8418 the Code of Practice for remotely monitored, detector activated, CCTV - something which may not happen if the lights and monitoring are triggered separately. The cost of lighting up an extensive site overnight in winter can be prohibitive so it definitely makes sense to have the ability, through the monitoring solution, to turn lights on and off remotely.

3 Sunshine - Even though you might not think it, the sun can become a major issue in winter, being lower in the sky. In the case where detectors are not positioned correctly - ideally in an east-west plane - the result can be a high percentage of activations where there appears to be no visible cause. The solution is to ask your installer to adjust problematic detectors. In the meantime - unlike some providers who would take these out of the system completely - at RemGuard we take a more considered approach and only disable relevant detectors during the time they are affected by the sun and ensure they are re-enabled once the sun has moved from the detector's field of view.

4 Timer Set-up - This one may seem obvious but it is surprising just how many users who have their lighting and remote monitoring controlled separately forget to put the timer on their lighting back after British summer time ends. Left out of sync, the monitoring will come on but there will be an unwanted gap before the lighting follows.

5 Cameras - When it comes to cameras more modern units will have heaters to cope with the winter weather but it is worth checking that the ones focusing on your site have this facility. Without a heater there is naturally the potential for cameras to freeze-up as temperatures plummet.
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