As the nights start drawing in, the children are back at school and the crackers start lining the shelves, it can only mean one thing: it is time to start thinking about security measures to protect your premises if you shut down over the Christmas period.

Businesses that shut down over the festive season tend to be more vulnerable to crime, especially when they are located on an industrial estate where other companies also close down, leaving the site devoid of daily supervision.

Planning ahead for the shutdown is crucial: just a few relatively simple, common sense steps will help to protect your business during this time. Some may even form part of the demands set by your insurers, so it is a good idea to check with them so you are clear on their conditions.

Maintenance

The first thing to do is take steps to ensure all your security related assets are in full working order. Have your intruder alarms, CCTV and security lighting serviced by an accredited security company for full peace of mind. This will, more often than not, form a requirement of your insurers.

CCTV and Motion Detectors

Remote monitoring via IP CCTV will allow you or a monitoring centre to receive footage via the internet to a mobile device. If a motion sensor triggers a recording, an alert will be sent to the device together with images or video footage. This will enable you to make the decision as to what action to take.

You should make regular checks during shutdown to ensure the system is functioning correctly, and you will need to keep your internet network running for the duration of the closure.

Security Lighting

You’ll need to be careful with security lighting during periods of shutdown. On the one hand, you don’t want to illuminate areas that do not benefit from surveillance as this could provide a potential intruder with an advantage. However, where surveillance measures are good, whether these are natural – as in a good view from the street – or the area is monitored by CCTV, then security lighting will prove beneficial.

Your maintenance programme will ensure that your lamps are in good order and the lighting system is working properly. Also check to ensure nearby street lamps are functioning and report any outages to the local authority.

Landscape Maintenance

Make sure the area around your building is well kept and that any shrubbery is cut back so that it doesn’t provide cover for an intruder. Ensure rubbish containers are stowed away or at least secured so that they cannot be used to gain access to the building. Also take care to lock away any materials that could be stolen or used to break in or for arson.

Intruder Alarms

You will have already ensured your alarms are in full working order through your maintenance programme. If you operate an automatic police response alarm system, then be sure to update your Alarm Monitoring Centre with the latest keyholder list. Remember that keyholders must be in a position to attend your premises within 20 minutes at any given time, which of course may prove a challenge during the Christmas and New Year period.

Valuables & Sensitive Items

It is advisable to lock any valuable or sensitive items such as important paperwork or portable data storage devices including laptops, tablets and hard drives in an insurance graded safe. Be sure to bank or remove off the premises any cash or cheques and take with you any manual backup discs. Check for any notes left on desks that contain passwords and lock these away.

Post Arrangements

If you are unable to arrange for a member of staff to attend the premises and check the post, it is best to make arrangements with Royal Mail to either hold or redirect your deliveries for the shutdown period. A build-up of post draws attention, and of course some of it may be sensitive so you would do well to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Locking Up

On leaving the building, ensure all the windows and doors have been locked both internally and externally, including skylights and any basement entryways. Remember to switch off the gas and water where practical and unplug electrical items where relevant, of course bearing in mind your security systems need power. Remove any tools or valuables from vehicles if they are being left on the premises.

Before you lock the final exit door and set the alarm, make a last check of the building to ensure there is no one left on the premises. And finally, lock any perimeter gates.

If you are starting to plan your Christmas shutdown procedures and would like some professional advice from respected and accredited security experts, get in touch with Barry Bros Security. Fully tailored guidance guaranteed.