Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No protection at all

High Risk Money Handling Business protected by an alarm system
Not worth 2 cents

I due work occasionally for a national alarm servicing company and I recently did a conversion / take Over system for them at a store which handles large amounts of cash since they cash checks in a run down area of Pittsburgh.
What I expected to find from the previous security system installation company was a well installed system similar to what you would find in a bank.
I arrived and after clearing the security doors etc I was shown the Burglar alarm system
which was an older technology it still looked fairly formidable. It was installed by
A Mid regional sized Pittsburgh Based company which now also offers national account services for big box chains.
A Radionics 8112D panel a grade A - Ademco Bell and a UL Potter Safe Unit all in conduit as required by UL But that’s were the protection stopped.
I opened the panel up by taking 2 screws out there was no required key lock and extra security screws and no tamper switches or sheet metal attack switch as would be required on a high security install. Then I found batteries which were last serviced in 1995 and its 2005 they are 5 years past what they should have been for servicing and this is what was causing the alarm to false every time power went out as none of the batteries including the main panel the aux Altronix power supply nor the Potter unit had current fresh batteries.
Then to make matters worse all of the end of line resistors were in the panel and not out side protecting the wiring.
This means there was no protection against shorting any of the wires including the grade A bell which is specifically designed to detect a shorted liner attack if some one drills into it. There was also no motion protecting the equipment as well.
Then to make matters worse the wireless Linear Panic Pendant the manager wears around her neck would never had worked because the installer put the receiver inside a metal can.
Something Linear clearly says in there instructions not to do.
Then when I went to take the Potter safe unit apart I found that the wire from the control unit to the safe was not in flexible conduit or of the type of wire which has a grounded shield in it that detects a ground or short.
The only thing going which would save this install from a burglary attack was the Derived channel supervised connection. And any simple maneuver by a burglar could have defeated the system and no signal would have been sent unless the burglar cut the phone lines first .Then while talking with the manager while she was on a break she said how clean and professional my work was and how the other company's technicians were a bunch of ignorant slobs who never cleaned up after them selves and treated them very rudely and like they were stupid. To make matters worse there’s the UL certificate they issued for a non UL complying set up. So much for excellence you get when you pay all that extra money for UL listing.
Unfortunately this is a case of Ghetto alarm install and service work the stores in the ghettos so any thing goes and no one gives a damn about any one.
This is a very bad and racist attitude any installer gives when they work in run down area and do not treat there customers with professional service and dignity .But all to often I hear it and see it from installers, and if this is how they treat one of there national accounts how are they treating every one else. Then again that’s probably why they lost the contract for service with this national chain of stores and why I was now in there installing a new system.

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