What Happens to a Card Access System in a Power Outage
Card access control systems provide business and facility owners the confidence and peace of mind that their property is being properly secured against any unwanted visitors or activity. The components of a card access control system are electronic, adding the convenience of automation and ease to manage. However, with ease and convenience come the inevitable pitfalls such as the disruption of a power outage.
There are a slew of things that can cause power outages such as equipment failures, severe storms, tree limbs falling on power lines or other failures caused by humans or animals. They’re unfortunately inevitable and can cause some serious disruption to electrical systems. Luckily, there are some components built into card access control systems that can help save the day in the case of a power outage.
Locked and unlocked with an electrical current, electronic locks can be set up to respond in one of two ways during a power outage:
When a lock is set to fail-safe, it becomes unlocked when there is a power outage. This is because the system uses the electrical current to keep the door locked and is disengaged when the power is removed. This setup is advantageous because it allows workers and visitors to safely exit the building in times of emergency. However, with the loss of power, the building becomes insecure and more susceptible to crime.
A fail-secure lock is the exact opposite, as it uses the electrical current to retract the lock so doors remain in the locked position in the event of an electrical outage. This helps keep the building and its valuables protected but is not ideal for larger, occupied buildings as it may impede evacuation in the case of an emergency.
It’s important to consider the effects of a key card access power outage when setting up the system. The security system vendor should adequately calculate the amount of power current necessary to operate the door release systems and how much backup power should be available to maintain the operation of the access system in the event of a power failure.
Power outages can cause a lot of disruption in a business. Below are some tips on how to best prepare your business for a power outage.
Make a Plan
It’s important to have a well thought-out plan in a case of a power outage to minimize its negative effects. Create the plan and share it with all employees, detailing each individual’s responsibilities such as maintaining business continuity, responding to emergencies, contacting clients, dealing with insurance, etc. When a power outage hits, things become hectic quickly and having a plan in place will keep the chaos at a minimum.
Prepare for the Worst
Power outages can be caused by wide range of things and it’s important that you prepare for the worst, for the sake of your business and employees. Keep non perishables, water, flashlights, and batteries on hand in case the emergency requires that you stay in the building for an extended period of time.
These kinds of security plans can come included with a proposed security solution. Depending on your security needs, the plan may include steps to take in the event of a brief and prolonged power failure.
Some other items which may be included:
Unplug Everything – When power outages occur, it’s helpful to disconnect all, but especially critical equipment powered by electricity. When the power eventually comes back on, the surge could be powerful enough to damage equipment.
Be Careful with the Generator – If you choose to run a generator, make sure your emergency plan includes instructions on how to run it safely. Remember to never run the generator in an enclosed area, as the fumes can be lethal, and be mindful of its recommended power rating as to not overload the generator.
Emergency SLAs and Procedures
Keep Chaos at Bay – Power outages can be a stressful time for everyone so it’s important to practice safety. People my attempt to “fix” or address issues which may put them in a dangerous situation and complicate the security envelope. Create a standard set of policies and behaviours for teams to follow in the event of a power outage.
When setting up a key card access control system for your business, it’s important to partner with a security system provider that considers all scenarios in order to keep your business and your employees safe.
With over 27 years of experience in security management for a range of brands and businesses, we have an unprecedented expertise in new technology and keeping businesses secure. Learn more about our services or give us a call to find out more about how we can help meet your access control needs.