‘Load-shedding is a security risk’ Residents Action Group Bedfordview warns

Residents and business owners should take every low battery alert from their security service provider very seriously.

Load-shedding is a security threat to homes and businesses as it can compromise alarm systems.

This is the message from Residents Action Group Bedfordview (RAG), the non-profit, community-based organisation that was started 20 years ago by residents to protect the community and their properties.

RAG general manager Mark Morris explained alarm systems usually come with standard lead-acid or gel batteries.

Most of these backup batteries last for six to eight hours when there is a power outage.

However, it is not designed to be repeatedly drained by power cuts.

“Load-shedding dramatically reduces a battery’s lifespan. The power outages will weaken and eventually damage the battery. It is essential to get your alarm batteries tested regularly and replaced when necessary.”

Morris said it is also worth investing in a lithium battery for your home or business alarm system.

“These are more resilient to regular power outages as it can be completely drained without damage to the battery and have a significantly longer life span which more than covers the additional cost.”

He warned a power outage is an opportune time for criminals to break into a property.

“The load-shedding schedules are available to everyone and criminals will often wait until an alarm battery has run out before they strike.

“This is why is it critical to take note of and respond to a low battery notification from your security service provider,” he said.

Morris said that RAG sends these alerts to RAG members by SMS.

He also advised residents to ensure that they have backup batteries for electric fences and gates so that these still work during load-shedding.

“Backup batteries must be installed and maintained,” he added.

Morris urged residents and businesses to test their alarms regularly because continued exposure to power surges and power cuts can increase the risk of technical problems with an alarm system.

“Over time, and with the ongoing load-shedding that all South Africans have to deal with, power cuts may affect your alarm programming and even how your sensors and door or window contacts work.”

Ensuring that your property is well-lit, even during load shedding, is the other advice from Morris.

He urged residents to invest in solar or battery-powered lighting to make their homes or business less appealing to criminals during power outages.

“If residents have security issues, during load-shedding or at other times, they should contact their security service provider,” he said.

The 24-hour RAG control centre may be reached on 011 455 7022 or 082 322 3333.

For assistance with alarm monitoring and armed response, residents should call RAG on 011 455 4120 or email info@bedfordviewrag.co.za