Five minute proofing

On this blog, and certainly during thousands of meetings with clients, we refer to the concept of “five minute proofing” your most precious belongings.

We try very hard to remind people that an alarm system is not, in and of itself, a “security system”. Your alarm is just one tool that is a part of your overall security system which also includes physical security devices such as proper locks, deadbolts, window latches as well as a myriad of other things like lighting, trimming your hedges and keeping your side gates locked.

The goal is to trigger your alarm as soon as possible in order to generate an immediate response… that’s it. It is not a deterrent in and of itself (despite what most other security companies will try to suggest). A properly designed and installed alarm is a tool that will provide information that has a very short shelf life. The trick is, how soon is the information provided by your alarm dealt with?

For most of our clients, Provident guarantees a five minute response to any alarm signal. This response service should become the centre of your security plan, around which everything else revolves. Because we know that we can get to your place within five minutes, you need to ensure that from the point at which your alarm trips and sends us a signal, it will take a burglar at least five minutes to get to what you are trying to protect.

Essentially, your two part goal is to a) slow them down, and b) ensure that your alarm is detecting an attempted burglary as soon as possible.

Here is an incomplete list, in no particular order, of some ways that you can achieve both:

1. Reduce your alarm delay time (the time that you are given to get from your entry door to your keypad). Typically, most people’s delay time is 30 seconds or longer… how much time do you really need? 10 seconds? Let us know and we can re-program your system. To eliminate the delay completely, consider using a remote keyfob to turn off your alarm before you even open the door.

2. Install glassbreak detectors (Glassbreak detectors are acoustic sensors that pick up the sound of breaking glass. Typically, one glassbreak detector is good enough for an entire room. They are the only detector that will detect a burglar while he is still standing outside)… do not rely on a motion detector as your first line of defence.

3. Install window blocks.

4. Install a deadbolt on your master bedroom door (this does not need to be a high security lock… a basic model from Kerrisdale Lumber will easily do the trick… the goal is to slow the bad guys down, not to try and make it physically impossible to get in).

5. Install padlocks on your side and back gates.

6. Keep your jewellery, cash and other high value items out of your master bedroom, the first place crooks will look… read this post about the typical Westside burglary.

7. At your office, bolt down the servers and any key computers… at home, ensure that any data you really need is backed up and kept somewhere else (away from the computer itself).

8. Consider having a safe installed… but make sure that it gets installed by a professional locksmith. Do not put off having it actually bolted into a concrete pad!

9. Make your plasma screen TV a lot more difficult to remove by wrapping a bike lock through both the TV and wall bracket.

Again, this is far from a complete list. In fact, most of the postings on this blog will be suggestions and tips on how to apply the “five minute proofing” concept in dozens of different ways. I will be uploading more in-depth posts on each of the points above over the next few weeks.

The most important thing is that you always keep in mind what would be required in order to ensure that there is at least five minutes between an alarm and the possessions that you want to protect.

If you have any specific questions, please email me or post an anonymous comment by using the link below. By using the comment feature, other readers will be able to see both your question as well as my response.

UPDATE: Click below to watch a clip from a recent Preventing Burglary seminar where I explain Five Minute Proofing…

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