Load-shedding: Steps to take to protect your home

Home owners have been urged to test their security systems as a matter of urgency and to
pay particular attention to the battery backup systems. The message comes from an armed
response company, as South Africa finds itself in the midst of wide-spread load-shedding.

“Many people are under the incorrect assumption that their home alarm system is
deactivated when the power supply is interrupted. However, if you have a stable and
correctly programmed system coupled with a battery that is in good condition, it will continue
to protect the premises during a power outage – regardless if the outage is because of load-
shedding or not,” says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager
at Fidelity ADT.

The only time it may not function correctly is if there is a technical issue, or the battery power is low. “Most modern alarm systems have a back-up battery pack that activates
automatically when there is a power failure,” says Hattingh.
She adds that there are a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure security is
not compromised during any power cuts.

Some of these include ensuring that the alarm system has an adequate battery supply, that
all automated gates and doors are secured and lastly to remain vigilant and report any
suspicious activity to your security provider or the South African Police Service.
With the added inconvenience of the lights going out at night due to power cuts, candles and
touch-lights are handy alternatives. Hattingh says home and business-owners should
consider installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, which is integrated into the alarm
system’s wiring and automatically switches on for a maximum of 15 minutes when there is a
power outage.

“If there is an additional battery pack, the small, non-intrusive LED lights can stay on for the duration of the power outage – or a maximum of 40 hours – without draining the primary
alarm battery,” she explains.

The most important tips to remember about being prepared for a power cut, says Hattingh,
are:
• It is important that your alarm system has an adequate battery supply. Batteries should
be checked regularly.
• Alarms should be checked during extended power outages to keep systems running.
• Power cuts can impact on fire systems and fire control systems; so these also need to be
checked regularly.
• The more frequent use of gas and candles can increase the risk of fire and home fire
extinguishers should be on hand.
• Above all remain vigilant during a power cut; be on the look-out for any suspicious
activity and report this to your security company or the SAPS immediately.
“Because of load-shedding, there might also be a higher than usual number of alarm
activation signals received by security companies and their monitoring centres,” says
Hattingh.

“This could lead to a delay in monitoring centre agents making contact with customers. You
can assist by manually cancelling any potential false alarms caused by load-shedding, and
thus help call centre agents in prioritising the calls needing urgent attention.”

By FIDELITY ADT