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How to choose the best Intrusion Alarm System for a Warehouse

Posted by Duncan Machray on Apr 20, 2018 9:41:51 AM

Intrusion Blog

Warehouses can be subject to criminal activity. Staff working late at night not only have the standard health and safety concerns that are linked to warehouse operation, but face additional challenges against their own personal safety. Security systems should be at the heart of every health and safety plan, and ensuring all personnel are protected against intruders is paramount.

Both wired and wireless security systems are used by many businesses to protect against intruders, both have their pros and cons, which will be discussed in this article. Furthermore, some businesses opt for monitored systems for added piece of mind in the event of a break-in. Depending on the nature of your business, you may find one system to be more suitable than the others.

The Importance of Intruder Alarms

Most businesses take security measures to deter intruders with access control and CCTV being an essential part of most security plans. However, intruder alarms are very beneficial when combined with other security measures. An intruder alarm can be a crime deterrent, due to the sound it creates when triggered. Alarms can also alert staff members that are on site to take action in the event of a break-in. This can result in your staff managing to stop a criminal in their steps. Moreover, fire doors can also be fitted with monitoring systems that alert staff if they are opened at any point. This is a good security feature that can prevent intruders from entering the building through a fire door while other areas of the warehouse are open.

Wireless or Wired Comparison

Benefits of Wireless Systems

A wireless system can be a beneficial asset to most businesses, wireless operation is useful in buildings where hard-wired installation is not possible or advised. These systems do not require specialist installation, meaning they are cheaper to install due to the fact that they don’t need hard-wiring. Most wireless systems can be installed in a very short space of time, which means less disruption to business operations.

A wireless system also comes with more flexibility which can be a good factor for businesses that are often changing the layout of their premises. For example, if you change the layout of your work environment or add extensions to the building, sensors can be quickly moved to accommodate the changes. This can also be helpful if you wish to redecorate or refit areas in the premises.

Potential Negative Aspects of Wireless Systems

Wireless security systems tend to be more expensive than wired systems but money can be saved on installation costs. A wireless system also needs batteries to function correctly, therefore they require more maintenance in this respect than systems that are powered by mains electricity.

False alarms can happen more often with a wireless device than a wired one. In addition to this, a wireless device relies on sensors to be placed within a specific range of the receiver, if sensors are placed out of range, the alarm will not be triggered. The wireless signal that the system relies on can also get jammed, it is therefore recommended that systems used conform to the BS EN 50131 anti-jamming standards. So it’s important not to buy any old cheap wireless system from the internet, speak to a professional NSI Gold security installer for advice on the matter.

Benefits of Wired Systems

Many businesses opt for a wired system for their well-known reliability. Wired systems will generally have less issues with false alarms and will usually only trigger a false alarm as a result of mains failure. However, most wired systems will have a backup battery that will provide power to the system in the event of mains failure.

Wired systems do not require sensors to be within a signal range or rely on a wireless connection to operate effectively. A wired system may also be cheaper to maintain in regard to replacement parts, which are generally cheaper. Furthermore, wired systems do not require regular battery replacement which can get costly depending on the number of sensors placed around the building.

Potential Negative Aspects of Wired Systems

Wired systems do not allow the flexibility that wireless systems do. Once a wired system is in place, it is very difficult to move certain components without further costs and disruption. The cost of installing a wired system initially is also significantly more expensive.

As a wired system relies on a series of wires to successfully function, there are more components to be damaged. For example, wires may be chewed by rodents or accidentally cut during other work on the building. If this happens, replacing the wires can be a costly and time-consuming process that can also cause further disruption to your business operations.

How do the Systems Work?

A wireless system functions by receiving radio signals from sensors placed around the building that will trigger an alarm if movement is detected. These sensors are battery powered and can be moved easily. Magnetic contacts are also used by many businesses to provide further security to areas with a number of entry points. These trigger an alarm if a door or window is opened, with the magnetic contacts connected to the central panel.

A wired system also relies on sensors to trigger an alarm but is powered by a network of wires that are often concealed within the walls and floors of the building.

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Components of an intruder alarm system

Control Panel

The control panel is the "brain" of the burglar alarm system. When a detection device of any kind is activated, the signal is transmitted to the control panel, which in turn activates an audible sounding device and the communicator reports the alarm signal to a monitoring station if you accept the monitoring option of our quotation


When an alarm system is installed, the customer is asked to select a secret code that will arm or disarm the system from a keypad, usually located near an entry door. The keypads also have built in proximity tag readers to allow you to set/unset your system using a keyring fob to comply with BS8243

Door Contacts

Magnetic contacts are used to sense when a door or window has been opened. These depend on the direct physical operation or disturbance of the sensor to generate an alarm. When a door or window is opened, a magnet releases a switch, breaking the contact and activating the alarm.

Passive Infrared Movement Detectors

Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRS) are used to sense the entry of an intruder into a protected area. Detection occurs when a heat source (thermal energy) crosses a defined boundary. When the radiation change captured by a PIRS exceeds a certain pre-set value, the thermal sensor produces an electrical signal which is sent to a built-in processor for evaluation and possible alarm.

Dual Technology Movement Detectors

Dual Technology sensors are smart solution that can help reduce energy waste and provide an additional level of convenience for occupants. They work using a combination of PIR and Ultrasonic technology. As individuals move throughout a given space, Ultrasonic wave analysis and the Doppler effect help detect indirect motion while passive infrared sensors monitor presence directly.

This hybrid approach makes them extremely responsive and highly reliable, even in large areas with obstructions or dividing walls. They’re the perfect solution for managing lights in an open office space, library, commercial manufacturing facility or large common area.

Vibration Sensors

Vibration Sensors are generally fitted to a door or window frame. The devices are fully electronic and are tuned to detect the typical frequencies emitted during a forced entry. The can be calibrated to adjust sensitivity to avoid false alarms.

One of the main advantages of shock sensors is that they can be used as a perimeter detector. Ideally they will detect the attempted forced entry before actual entry is made. Another advantage is that they can be in an armed state while the premises are occupied.

Glass Break Detectors

A glass break detector senses the sound of breaking plate, tempered, laminated, wired, coated and sealed insulating glass. A glass break detector uses a microphone to listen for the specific acoustical frequency that is generated by breaking glass. We generally use these in areas where there are large windows that would usually require several vibration sensors but a glass break detector can cover an 8m radius so can protect a large amount of glass.

Panic Buttons

This is a device that has two buttons on it that you press simultaneously when there is an emergency. This can be located anywhere in the building but is typically installed in entrances, customer service desks or reception desks. Once pushed it generates a silent alarm which goes through to the monitoring station and the police are immediately notified.

Added Extras

Some businesses choose to add monitored systems to ensure peace of mind in the event of an intruder entering the premises. These are particularly useful for warehouses located in remote areas as if the alarm is not heard by staff or anybody nearby, a message will be sent to Contact Fire and Security alerting us that an alarm has been triggered.


Installing an intrusion alarm system is an important area for consideration for all businesses. They are particularly important in a warehouse environment and should be incorporated into any existing security system that may currently be in place. Maintenance is a key part of ensuring that the system is running correctly and effectively, professional maintenance is a necessary for insurance purposes. Without professional maintenance, your insurance may be considered invalid. At Contact Fire and Security we have 36 years of experience in providing a variety of businesses with quality security solutions. We are also NSI gold standard certified, and experts in our field. If you require a property, security, or fire assessment then please call us or send a message via the contact form below. Contact Fire and Security recommendation is based on one of our experts visiting your premises, so it is important to contact us to arrange this.


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Topics: Warehouse Security