Safes, Vaults & Alarms

A company's equipment, facilities, inventory, records and other physical assets are subject to a variety of loss exposures that need to be addressed with a coordinated, multilayered approach.

According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), commercial properties accounted for nearly 30 percent of the more than 2.1 million estimated burglaries in 2009.

Physical Security

Company facilities and assets are best protected with a series of measures that work together to deter potential losses from theft or fire.

Access alarm systems, for instance, provide an important deterrent and notification function against unauthorized entry. Fire alarms increase safety and reduce property damage by notifying building occupants and first responders, and can help activate fire-protection systems.

Depending on the design and nature of the risk, fire alarms may provide audible notification to building occupants, or may alert someone monitoring an alarm system elsewhere in the building. Other types of systems may be monitored at a central facility operated by a third-party provider.

Similarly, access alarms are typically monitored offsite or designed to notify local law enforcement agencies about potentially unauthorized entry into a locked facility.

In addition, the installation of security cameras to monitor building doors, loading docks and other areas can provide a powerful deterrent as well as a visual record of unauthorized entry attempts.

Safe Storage

Safes and vaults are also useful in protecting important business records or assets such as product designs or prototypes. Safes, for example, are designed to secure commodities against theft or unauthorized access by delaying or deterring unauthorized entry, or to protect assets from fire damage.

Choosing the appropriate safe or vault depends to a large degree on your company and its risks. A burglary-resistant safe, for instance, is designed to guard against theft by blending steel or alloy walls with, in most instances, two or more locks. Burglary-resistant safes come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, and are rated for their ability to resist being opened with common tools for lengths of time ranging from 15 to 60 minutes.

Fire-resistant safes are designed to protect valuable records or electronic media from heat damage and come with similar ratings to reflect different degrees of expected protection.

Some types of companies and assets are best protected with a walk-in vault that may provide space for working in as well as for storage. A bank vault is an obvious example, but vaults are commonly used to protect high-value inventory, government records and other important assets subject to theft and fire.

To provide maximum protection, vaults should be structurally independent of the building where they’re located and should not share common walls, floors or ceilings. As with safes, vaults are rated for their resistance to entry for periods ranging from 15 minutes to two hours.

To make the best choice, it's important to understand the nature of threat by examining not only what you're trying to protect, but also the threats you're trying to protect those assets from. You may feel that fire is a more likely threat than theft, for instance, and that decision will likely affect the type of safe, vault or alarm system that best meets your needs.

Alarms, safes and vaults will each provide protection on their own, but it’s the combination of several measures that will provide the greatest degree of protection against theft, fire and other incidents that can disrupt your business operations.

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