Barnsley Locksmith Advice
Hey, it’s July already. It barely seems 19 years since it was March and we were entering lockdown. But finally we seem to be coming out of it, touch wood, and there are signs things are getting back to, well, if not quite normal, then the new normal that people keep banging on about. Although we all need to continue to be as careful as possible, the re-opening of pubs and hairdressers this weekend will be a welcome step for many of us, after the opening of non-essential shops a couple of weeks ago.
Whilst the re-opening is good news for consumers, it is a lifeline for those businesses that are able to resume trading. It’s been such a difficult time for so many businesses, despite the government help that was put in place, so being able to re-open will be met with much relief. Resuming trade won’t be easy though - with the precautions that need taking, and adjustments required. Therefore at a time like this, it would be understandable if, as a business owner, you were not giving a lot of thought towards the security of your business property.
However, I would urge you to do so. In the midst of social distancing, installing hand gel stations and signs, and putting together new health and safety policies, it is important that you still keep your business safe from burglary, and ensure it meets the minimum standards of your insurance policies.
A break-in at a business is a double-whammy. You experience a similar emotional blow that a domestic break-in would bring, as well as the subsequent clear-up and ringing round insurance companies and the like. However, coupled with this you have the fact that the break-in has disrupted how you make your living. The business may need to be shut down for a period for repairs, or to replace expensive equipment required for the running of the business. There may be staff to pay who are unable to work until the business is back up to speed, and orders that may be unable to be honoured.
After such a long period of inactivity that COVID-19 has caused, it would be heart-breaking to then have to close the business again due to a break-in, this time with no government assistance available. Hopefully this illustrates why security is so important and why, as business owners, we must do everything in our power to stop any potential break-in.
Burglars will usually target the most obvious entry point of a building, and this is of course the main door. Therefore, a lot of your defence should be focussed on the type of locks that you fit on external doors. On the whole, the choice is between a rim lock and a mortice lock. The former is best known as a Yale type lock; a box on the inside of the door in which the rim lock in encased. This contains a deadbolt which lines up to a slot on the doorframe. These are the type of locks that can leave yourself accidentally locked out as they automatically lock when the door is shut – handy if you are in the habit of forgetting to lock the door, but not so convenient if you’ve popped out for a second, leaving the key inside.
In contrast to rim locks, mortice locks live within the actual door – activated by inserting a key in either side of the door to lock or unlock the door. Although these run the risk of you forgetting to lock the door, it does mean the accidental lock-out is not likely to happen. They have the more important advantage of being sturdier than the rim locks too, as they are integral to the door so the lock mechanism cannot be accessed when the door is shut. Instead, when a key is turned, levers in the door itself spring out or into the door frame, as required. The more levers there are, the more secure the door, and five levers are now the standards on newly-installed doors, providing more protection than a rim lock with only one point of contact.
No matter the choice of lock, ensure that the standard is up to that demanded by your insurance company. British standard BS3621 should be the minimum, so look for anything above this. Fortunately, it’s now quite difficult to buy a new lock that is less than BS3621 standard, but if you’re looking around for cheap ones, this could be a false economy as they may not meet the standard, and this is unlikely to meet requirements, leading to insurance companies not paying out in the event of any claim.
Like moving from Jim Morrison to Bill Gates, in the subtlest segue ever, we now change subject from the Doors to windows. Burglars will target windows if they have no luck at the main entrances. It is crucial all windows on your business are fitted with locks – if not, then consider getting new ones fitted, or if this is not possible then remember that even old style windows can be retrofitted with locks, making them less of a target.
If a house window is smashed in a residential area, you’d hope it would attract attention from concerned neighbours. Unfortunately, businesses are rarely in residential areas, and at night may be quite some distance away from any occupied building. Burglars will therefore feel more confident about smashing a window to gain access, as they know it’s likely to go unnoticed. This is why I would recommend fitting grilles or shutters to windows and glass doors in order to beef up security. This will not only deter burglars, but also prevent vandalism.
Along with shutters, an alarm system can properly round off your security arrangements. As above though, there is the risk of there being no-one nearby to hear any alarm. So although an audible alarm is better than nothing – it may scare off the casual burglar, and will satisfy many insurance policies – I’d really recommend an alarm that is remotely connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre, which then calls the police or a security firm to investigate as soon as possible. Get the best model you can afford – for commercial use I would go for grade 3 or 4, whilst for residential 1 or 2 may suffice. Always ensure the alarm is approved either by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), and most important of all, don’t forget to set it! Insurance can be immediately invalidated if it is discovered that, despite that all singing and all dancing alarm system, you hadn’t actually turned it on.
As I say, hope this just acts as a bit of a reminder if you’re getting back to work after the lockdown. We’re all hoping the second half of 2020 is better than the first when it comes to business, and what we really don’t want to be faced with is a business being broken into just as we’re trying to get back to this mysterious new normal.
For any assistance at all with any Barnsley locksmith or security-related matters, please call me on 01226 399067.