in association with

Dave Solly, Product Manager - Perimeter, Gallagher Company strategy, Electricity transmission/distribution, Energy networks, Innovation, Strategy & management, Technology, Water, Opinion

In today’s security climate, protecting utility sites is more critical than ever before. Terrorism, business continuity, and protecting people are among the biggest security concerns the utility industry faces.

Securing a utility site isn’t just about protecting property and assets, it’s also about saving lives and preventing service disruptions or outages. An incident caused by an act of terrorism or unauthorised people on site could create a major service disruption and the flow-on effect could be massive. Liability claims and fines from loss of critical utility services hit eye-wateringly large sums.

Unfortunately, we hear stories all the time where people have put their lives in danger through unauthorised entry to utility sites. Their intentions are not always nefarious – it is often as simple as someone trying to retrieve a lost football, or children wanting to explore. One of our customers, an electricity company in the Middle East, came to us seeking security after a member of the public suffered a fatal accident on one of its sites.

The risk to human life is significant, but equally so is the risk people pose to business. Whether their acts are intentional or not, the potential for people to disrupt services by tampering with equipment, or contaminating water supplies, can have catastrophic outcomes.

How secure is your site?

When it comes to preserving business continuity and protecting people’s lives, does your site do enough to keep people out? A fence is the obvious method for keeping people out of sites, but how secure is your current fence?

Barbed and razor wire topped fences can be easily defeated by throwing a blanket over the top – in fact, the barbs will actually hold the blanket in place. Adding detection capabilities may help alert you to an intrusion attempt but it’s unlikely to prevent it from happening. With utility sites often operating in remote locations, being informed of intrusion attempts is futile without a means of deterring them or quickly responding to the threat.

A standard security fence is no longer enough to ensure the safety of critical sites. It’s imperative utility providers choose solutions that provide the strongest level of security.

Fencing options for superior security

Energised perimeter fencing is a sophisticated but user-friendly security solution that can offer both deterrence and detection. It provides a physical and psychological deterrent that stops people from entering dangerous sites. If a person makes contact simultaneously with a live wire and the earth, a very short, safe, energised pulse is delivered. If that contact is sustained, the fence controller sends an alarm to monitoring devices, enabling sites to take action.

In most cases, the monitored pulse fence warning sign is enough to stop people in their tracks. If they did attempt to climb the fence, the safe and controlled energised pulse they’ll receive is minor compared to the potential dangers on the other side, and it’s more than enough to stop them going further. This kind of deterrence is especially valuable for remote sites, which may not have the ability to respond quickly to intrusion attempts.

Energised fences comply with international safety standards, which set out the safety requirements for the design, installation, and operation of energised security fencing. While it may sound threatening, energised fencing is designed to be considerably safer and more effective than deterrent alternatives. Paired with access-controlled gates, energised fencing can become an intelligent device that helps to ensure only authorised people access a site.

Upgrading a security fence isn’t cheap, but can you put a value on saving lives and preventing service disruptions or outages? Energised fencing offers peace of mind, knowing a site is truly secure, people are safe, and the business is protected.

Learn more about monitored pulse ­fencing at: security.gallagher.com