Without adequate security, your garage door could be the most vulnerable access to your home, if it connects through a doorway, as many garages do. Thieves recently identified a simple way of getting into garages, simply by inserting a stretched out coathanger over the door and releasing the emergency catch. And there’s a simple fix too. If you have a manually operated up-and-over garage door you should have an emergency exit cord hanging in above the centre of the door. A coathanger is just narrow enough to be slid over the door and just strong enough to release it, meaning that the burglar can get into your garage in under ten seconds.
Whatever you keep in your garage, it’s vulnerable. And if your garage also has a doorway to your home, that’s vulnerable too. Many people don’t realise how easy it is to break into garages and assume that if the garage door is locked, then that’s an adequate security measure, just like locking the front and back doors.
But as we know this is not the case, further security measures should be taken. First of all, if you do have a manual up-and-over garage door, the quick way to secure it against this particular means of incursion is rather simple. If you take a narrow cable tie and secure the catch, your garage is secured. A coathanger isn’t strong enough to get past it, but in the event of an emergency, pulling on the handle will snap the tie, letting you open the door as normal.
You Can’t Buy Security for 5p
However, while practical, depending on a piece of plastic worth about 5p is no way to properly secure your garage against thefts! Ideally you will have much more robust security in place, particularly if you keep valuable items or tools that could be used to facilitate a break-in within your garage. Rather than using a little piece of plastic to secure your garage, it’s worth considering one of the many other security devices that are currently available on the market for effectively securing your property.
A motor for your garage door is a great way to add security, particularly if you despise the cold wet weather of Britain. The garage door operator can be activated from within the car, meaning that you don’t have to get out and struggle with keys and opening the door, just to get back into your car to drive it a further few feet before you can really consider yourself at home. While the motor can be activated with a press of a button, the motor acts as an extremely effective barrier if it isn’t activated. They move relatively slowly and have sensors which will arrest the door’s progress if any obstruction is identified in order to prevent accidents. Some people find their speed a factor in deciding not to buy, however, there are other garage door security applications that aren’t slow at all.
Garage Door Security For the Twenty First Century
A relatively recent security feature that is well suited to garage doors is the fingerprint sensor. While it hasn’t been perfected for home security yet, it’s idea for the garage as it can be pre-programmed with numerous prints, letting you grant access to who you want without the need of giving them a key or IR device. Keypads are also an option. These have the advantage over keys in that you can change them as many times as you like as often as you like. This means that you can give access to gardeners, neighbours, builders, whoever, and, once they no longer need to be able to gain access, change the codes. It’s this flexibility of security that puts modern electronic security over traditional garage door security.
If you don’t use your garage to store a car, but use it as a utility room, games room, workshop or gym then you may find that side hinged garage doors are a much better solution than the more usual overhead garage doors.
The beauty of side hinged garage doors is that they operate exactly like a normal door. You can open them wide to allow all the light and air in that you want, or you can just open them a crack if you want to come and go discreetly. If you’re more likely to have people, including children and pets, passing through the garage door than cars, then their ease of use is all important. Side hinged garage doors also have the advantage of having very few moving parts, so maintenance is minimal and easily carried out. If the garage that needs a new door has an irregular or arched lintel, side hinged doors are a far easier, and therefore much more cost effective, solution to fitting the structure needed to install an overhead garage door.
Side Hinged Garage Doors Have Many Advantages
When we think of side hinged garage doors we usually tend to think of old fashioned wooden coach house style doors with big wrought iron hinges and little windows lined across the top. And that style of garage door has been a popular style for a long time, fitting as it does with the particular style of house, outbuilding or converted stable it was originally fitted too. However, fewer people are using their garage to store the car these days, instead using their garage as a convenient storage space, utility room, games room, gym or media entertainment centre. With that in mind, a side hinged garage door is far more practical than overhead options.
Side hinged garage doors are more adaptable than most other forms of garage doors too. You can choose whether to have the doors split at the centre of the doorway, or have a 1/3 -2/3 split in either direction, and a choice of left or right hand lead doors. This basically means you can have a standard size door to one side, and a double standard width to the other. You have a great choice of materials too. Wood used to be the manufactures choice in the past because when outbuildings and stables were being converted to be used as a garage to keep a car in, metal overhead doors didn’t exist. Today side hinged garage doors are available in a wide variety of materials including wood (in a vast array of sustainable timbers, and colours) metal (single skin or foam or fibre insulated double skin) and UPVC. Each of these materials has its own unique properties, so the choice of material, colour and finish is either aesthetic or down to the homeowner’s personal preference.
Being located on the south coast, Prestige Doors has a wide variety of clients from domestic, rural, commercial, industrial to urban and corporate. Every customer has individual, unique needs but there are always universal truths that every homeowner, estates manager and retail outlet owner should be aware of.
When it comes to security, the appearance of your exterior doors is paramount. If a door looks sturdy, well maintained and brightly lit when anybody approaches after dark, the chances of them taking any further interest are much lower than if a door or shutter seemed to be ignored, decayed, rusted or unsecured.
At this time of year, with the clocks changing and nights getting longer, people are spending less time outdoors, they’re keeping their curtains closed and paying less attention to the goings on in their neighbourhood. The way people are affected by the environment plays a huge part in ambient security, that is, if a building looks secure, well maintained and shows signs that there are people around who are paying attention, then potential intruders are far less interested in making further investigations. When it’s dark, the opportunities for incursion increase, with fewer people around from dusk till dawn, burglars have more time to spend both planning and executing a break-in without being observed.
Throwing A Spotlight On Break-Ins
Security lighting plays its part here. Since observation is such a disincentive to the burglar, ensuring entrances are well lit pays dividends. But, in areas that are out of sight of the street or neighbours, additional lighting still has a part to play even if you don’t have cameras that are constantly monitored. Out of sight is very much in mind when it comes to getting access to your property. If secondary entrances and fire escapes are obscured from general view they are all the more appealing. Doors that look sturdy with visibly solid locks and hinges that are illuminated as soon as anybody approaches are a valuable display of security.
Lighting areas where nobody is watching is equally true for outbuildings, garages and sheds too. If you don’t keep valuable property in your outbuildings then security may not be paramount to you. However, because burglars don’t like to draw attention to themselves they don’t travel around with crowbars and ladders on their shoulders. If they can find them in your shed which isn’t securely locked, they will use them to break into your home.
The Mark Of Good Security
Security marking your property and assets is an effective deterrent too. Most property is stolen to be sold, and unfortunately, people who buy on the black market don’t care where it came from. However, marking your property does make property much harder to sell for a price that makes the theft worthwhile, while also making its return to the owner much easier. Marking property also helps secure convictions. If thieves are caught with marked property in their possession a reasonable alibi is harder to create, which is another huge disincentive to steal clearly marked goods. Bar coded or addressed asset management stickers are an effective way to permanently mark your property in both work and domestic situations.
Neighbourhood Watch is much maligned as busy-bodies snooping on their neighbours but the system works. A simple sticker in the window that tells people that strangers will be noticed and observed is a simple but effective deterrent. Neighbourhood watches and small businesses should regularly invite their local crime prevention officer to speak to new members and staff. They can look at your current security and advise on basic mistakes, physical improvements and changing habits that could leave your home or workplace vulnerable.
The production company which caused an accident that injured actor Harrison Ford is awaiting sentencing after it pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches.
The accident, which happened on set of the most recent Star Wars movie, left Mr Ford pinned to the ground with a broken leg and the accident could have been much worse had a member of film crew not acted quickly in turning off the power to the door driver mechanism.
The door, which was a part of the scenery rather than a genuine access point, was powered with a motor which was far too powerful for the job it was needed to do and should not have been live during rehearsals. While the accident broke the actor’s leg, it was claimed that the door moved with the force of a small car and could have killed anybody it hit. Instead the door hit Mr Ford in the hip and pinned him to the floor until another member of staff on the set was able to switch the power off and release the actor.
Foodles Production, the company responsible for the building and installation of the door. The company was originally charged with four breaches of Health and Safety legislation, however, two of these charges were incorporated into two overarching charges under sections two and three of the health and safety at work act 1973 which covered employers believed to be endangering the health of an employee and endangering the health of somebody not employed by the company.
Although Foodles accepted responsibility, Angus Withington, mitigating, said that although they company accepted the accident was preventable and it was their fault, the risk wasn’t as bad as the prosecution’s legal team made it appear. The HSE said that it was glad of the guilty plea, but that the incident had been foreseeable. A spokesman said: “The British film industry has a world-renowned reputation for making exceptional films.”
“Managing on-set risks in a sensible and proportionate way for all actors and staff – regardless of their celebrity status – is vital to protecting both on-screen and off-screen talent, as well as protecting the reputation of the industry.”
Rope and Pulley
Speaking in an interview with Jonathan Ross shortly after the incident, Ford said that back when the original trilogy was filmed, the door would have been simply operated by a stage hand with a rope and pulley. “But now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a f—— great hydraulic door which closed at light-speed,”
Nick Perkins of the Door and Hardware Federation said “As this court case shows, owners and all those responsible for powered access systems and equipment could face prosecution in the event of an incident at one of their sites. They should also be aware that installers and maintainers are also bound by criminal legislation to ensure that all work, whether on a new or an existing access system, is safe.”
Foodles Production, a subsidiary of the Disney Corporation admitted responsibility and was due to be sentenced on August 22, however, sentencing won’t happen now until October due to both parties not being ready, according to a court spokesperson.
It goes without saying that Prestige Doors are committed to security. Our core business is making sure that your business, or home, is securely shut and that you and your property are safe from intruders.
However, there’s only so much a security shutter or sectional door can do. Security is everybody’s responsibility all of the time. You might have the best security available, but if a member of staff lets in an unauthorised visitor, that investment counts for next to nothing. So what do we recommend as ways to augment and consolidate your security measures?
It’s incredibly easy for intruders to gain access to a building during working hours, particularly in the morning or at the end of the lunch break. Simple manners dictate that we hold the door open for the person behind us and interlopers have been known to take advantage of that and simply follow an employee into the building. Train staff to ALWAYS ask to see ID if it’s not immediately visible. Ensure that they understand that ‘piggybacking’ (gaining access by following a colleague without punching in the security code or using a pass) isn’t acceptable. There are many training manuals and courses available to suit your size of business.
Having CCTV cameras is a clear visual deterrent which sends out a clear signal to burglars that you take security seriously. There is one drawback to having incredibly obvious cameras though, they are vulnerable to attack and reveal their own blind spots. We recommend using high quality, robust cameras to cover all main points of access to your buildings, but also using more discreet cameras to cover blind spots, passageways, alleys, car parks and office spaces. Modern digital technology allows you to gather superior quality images even in low lighting conditions and store the data remotely.
Again, like CCTV cameras, a visible alarm system will deter burglars and intruders. Silent alarms come highly recommended too, however, these are less affective at preventing break-ins, while they do improve the apprehension of criminals who are caught in the act. Maintenance is incredibly important when it comes to affective alarms. As with the Boy who Cries Wolf, too many false alarms and it will be ignored or worse, become an irritant to your neighbours.
Installing doors that are just too hard to get through without a key or code are the best way of deterring criminals. Burglars like an easy life, which is why they took to crime in the first place. They like to get in and out before they attract too much attention from passers by and the police. Solid shutters create an environment where a great deal of time and effort must be expended on gaining access to the property.
There’s plenty of help out there, you just have to ask for it. Your local police station will have a Crime Prevention Officer who will be happy to visit your offices, commercial buildings and even your home to give you advice on effective methods of deterring criminals. They will be able to tell you the areas you should be concentrating on. The manufacturers and installers of security systems, cameras, lighting and doors will all be happy to give you a consultation to discuss what you need.
Campbell Jones competing in the 1963 Grand Prix
When Personal Security Compromises Public Safety
A housing development in central London has this week had its security doors removed as a consequence of health and safety concerns raised by the Fire Brigade and local council.
Residents of the block had been concerned about the homeless, strangers and potential criminals obtaining access to their property and so installed security doors in the lobby. To anybody this is obviously a wise decision provided that the doors met or exceeded all the requirements for a large building which had numerous residents.
However, the increased sense of security meant that people began to leave property, items such as bikes, prams and pushchairs in the corridors. In fact, so much property was left that the local council deemed it to be a health hazard as it would likely cause an obstruction in the event of an emergency. The council wrote to the residents, yet because of the intransigence of some of the householders, the council was forced into the position where they had to remove the secure doors, meaning that it was no longer possible to leave the obstructions in the passageways.
Safety Compromised by Obstructions
John Campbell Jones, a former F1 driver and resident of the building said: “They spent a lot of money putting all these doors on, which do make people much more secure, and then someone leaves a few things outside and, instead of someone knocking on the doors and telling us, they take the bloody doors off again.”
Residents who did comply with the notice to move their property to a location where it would cause no obstruction were told that it was too late, and because others hadn’t complied, it was now the council’s only option to remove the doors.
The council’s housing chief, Pat Callaghan, said “Items that are stored in lobbies are a fire risk and can physically obstruct and restrict the means of escape from a building, greatly increasing the risk to residents if required to evacuate during a fire.”
Ms Callaghan went on to point out that her council’s Community Safety Team had visited and other security measures had been taken.
Security and Safety
Fitting security doors, fire doors and security shutters will all have not only an appreciable effect on the physical security of your home or business, the psychological effects are marked too. Simply installing solid looking doors and shutters reduces crime and attempted criminal activity. However, no matter how secure you feel, you always need to be aware of this affecting your behaviour. Fire doors need to be kept clear and easy to open from the inside at all times. Internal fire doors in corridors should be kept closed (but unlocked) to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. If internal fire doors are routinely kept open they should be fitted with a door retainer that releases the door automatically if there is a fire and clearly marked that they will close automatically in an emergency.
After a number of recent fires at locations such as nightclubs in the UK, France and US, it’s timely to remind people that no matter what kind of premises you are securing, emergency exits should be clearly marked, kept clear at all times and any staff who work on the premises should know the evacuation procedure.