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Self-Storage Security: 10 Things You Must Have

There are few considerations more important to choosing storage than the level of security.

How much security you need is a function of your comfort level with the facility itself, as well as how much you value you stuff -- the more valuable and irreplaceable your stuff, the more security measures you should seek, keeping in mind that you'll probably be paying more for storage.

Here's a list of things to bring with you when you visit storage facilities.

Outside the Facility:

  • Are the grounds well maintained? Well-maintained grounds outside indicate management cares about your stuff inside.

  • The security fence must be intact.

  • Note the condition of the parking areas. Shady characters hanging around, dimly-lit entrances? Not good signs. Think about the security of your things as well as your comfort level when you visit.

Inside the Facility:

  • Check to see that the inside is well lit and maintained. These places can be pretty desolate, so you need to feel comfortable when accessing your facility.

  • Check for smoke alarms in the building. Can you see fire extinguishers and ceiling sprinklers?

  • Find out the warehouse policy in regard to smoking. Some facilities permit smoking in office areas, others forbid smoking throughout the facility. If you hope to squeeze into your prom dress again someday, you don't want it smelling like smoke.

  • Do the staff impress you as being well-mannered and presentable? They'll be responsible for security, so it's like they're watching your stuff – feel comfortable.

Security Devices: When you check out the security facilities available at a storage warehouse, what security arrangements would meet your needs? You may feel satisfied with an alarm system only, or conversely that 24 hour on-site security is essential. There are different levels of security in each facility and you must decide which level is suitable for you.

Fences: Brick walls are preferable to metal chain-link fences as they prevent prying eyes from seeing into the facility.

Motion sensors afford added protection both indoors and outdoors. They can be connected to light fittings or alarms or both. When motion is detected the light will turn on automatically and the alarm will sound. The alarm system can also be connected to the police who will then be alerted immediately.

Alarms are a very important crime deterrent. The alarms may simply sound when there is a break-in at the facility or they can also be connected up to the local police station. Fire alarms are also a very desirable security measure to prevent your goods being destroyed or damaged by fire station. Ask about them.

Keypad access: You will be required to use a code to access your stored possessions, including access to hallways and elevators. As an extra level of security your elevator access may be limited to the floor where your items are stored if you're in a multistory warehouse.

Lighting – Good inside and outside lighting is a deterrent to undesirables from coming onto the property of the storage facility. The lighting can be permanent or triggered by movement.

Locks – You will probably be required to provide your own lock for your storage unit. This gives you control over who should have access to your unit, but you might still want to give the warehouse operator a key to use in case of emergency. If you intend to give other people access to the unit from time to time, you should inform the warehouse manager. Often storage facilities will require a list of such persons, and may give them access when requested, or they may contact you before allowing them access. There are different regulations.

On Site Guards – Some facilities provide twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, on site security. Other facilities may employ a resident manager who doubles as a guard during off hours.

Close Circuit Television (CCTV) – This is a very efficient way to monitor comings and goings in the storage facility There is usually a security official monitoring the CCTV, which is frequently video taped.

Hallway Intercoms – These are another security measure that may be used to summon help in emergencies or to inform people that they are in restricted areas that they need to vacate.

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