National Mini Storage is the largest self storage company in New Zealand, with six self storage facilities, each with up to 1 kilometre of perimeter that needs security protection. Since 1993, National Mini Storage has been a strong advocate of the PowerFence™ system to assure customers their property is safely protected.
The concept of a self storage facility was relatively new to New Zealand when National Mini Storage opened their first site in Penrose in 1991. The site design was based on an innovative ranch style as opposed to a more traditional multi level facility. A natural barrier, in the form of an old quarry site, afforded some perimeter security. Other significant security was provided by live-in site managers, gates and infra-red beams.
However, the beams were troublesome, often being sent into alarm by spiders and fog. More importantly, these site security measures did not deter thieves.
After three break-ins, the on-site managers identified that if the company was to succeed long term, it had to offer a safe and secure environment for their customers.
Key factors considered in finding a solution were:
- The need for a system that would actively deter and detect intruders but provide a safe environment for staff and customers.
- A high false alarm tolerance i.e. able to ignore interference from change in weather (e.g. fog), animals, falling leaves etc.
- A system that could be monitored externally during the hours of 7pm and 7am, when the site was closed.
The decision to install a PowerFence™ system was endorsed by the on-site managers, who saw electric fencing as the only solution to meet their requirements and maximise site security.
PowerFence™ systems, from Gallagher Security Management Systems (GSMS), consist of a grid of high tensile wires that can be constructed either inside an existing perimeter fence, or on walls and roofs.
While most technologies only detect intruders, the PowerFence™ system is unique in its ability to also deter would-be intruders. The security fence is pulsed every 1.2 seconds, creating a short, sharp but safe shock if the fence is touched or breached, as well as creating an alarm. Signs are positioned along the fence to warn people of the potential hazard if contact is made.
Paul McFadzien, Managing Director of National Mini Storage, reports that the PowerFence™ has been an excellent deterrent to thieves.
"The (PowerFence™) system has been extremely successful from our point of view. It's been a major deterrent. It does the job it is meant to do," comments Paul.
Paul adds, "It must be about 5 years since the last attempt (to breach the fence). The last time someone had a serious go at the fence, they used wire cutters but only managed to cut a couple of wires and the alarms went off."
From the initial installation at Penrose, National Mini Storage has developed a strong on-going relationship with their PowerFence™ installer and dealer, Pride Contractors, based on their high level of customer service, and the ready supply of parts from GSMS. This has lead to all but one of the sites owned by National Mini Storage being protected with a PowerFence™ perimeter security solution.
As early adopters of PowerFence™ technology, National Mini Storage are now in the process of upgrading each of their sites to Gallagher Trophy multiple zone systems, to realise the benefits of ongoing research and development by GSMS.
Trophy based systems can have up to 48 zones for alarm management and monitoring purposes along with direct PC on-screen control of the PowerFence™ site. The zones can be configured to meet exact site requirements.
"The zone factor has made a huge difference. If you do have problems, you can quickly locate them by identifying the fence zone that has gone into alarm", says Paul.
As each National Mini Storage site is upgraded, the infrastructure is being modified to allow for expansion to PowerFence™ Trophy 48, a feature rich perimeter security system that will enable Paul and his team to remotely configure and manage a site's perimeter security.
Paul says, "Remote access is the key driver for having the Trophy 48 interface. We don't have to jump in the car and go to the site to solve the problem and reset the alarm. Using this technology means we can save a lot of time and reduce costs because we can solve problems remotely".
As National Mini Storage use an external monitoring company when the sites are closed (i.e. 7pm to 7am), access to remote management software will help determine the appropriate response to an alarm.
Paul attributes the use of technology based systems, including PowerFence™ with its PC interface, as being important for the success of National Mini Storage, "It is a major point of difference for our customers compared to other suppliers."